NORTH CAROLINA—Tailei Qi, a doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, stood before an Orange County judge for the first time on Tuesday, Your Content has learned. He is accused of fatally shooting Zijie Yan, an associate professor in the Department of Applied Physical Sciences, on Monday.
Arrested for allegedly using a 9 mm pistol in the killing, Qi’s actions led to an immediate lockdown at UNC-Chapel Hill just as students were starting their first week of the academic year.
The 34-year-old native of China is facing charges of first-degree murder and possessing a weapon on educational grounds.
Appearing in court in an orange jumpsuit, an Orange County judge denied Qi’s request for bond and scheduled a probable cause hearing on September 18.
UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said at a press conference on Monday: “This shooting damages the trust and safety that we so often take for granted in our campus community,” calling the loss of Yan “devastating.”
While authorities haven’t yet released a motive or confirmed if Yan was specifically targeted, they did reveal that no other individuals were injured during the incident. According to university records, Qi and Yan were part of the same research group.
The police reported that shots were fired in Caudill Laboratories around 1 p.m. on Monday. Yan was found dead in a lab building, and Qi was arrested roughly 90 minutes later. The university subsequently canceled classes for both Monday and Tuesday.
If convicted, Qi could be facing a life sentence.