Following an incident that set social media alight, a suspect was in custody Sunday afternoon after reportedly being seen wielding a knife on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill.
UNC officials sent out an emergency alert around 4:30 p.m. warning that an armed or dangerous man was on or near the campus, and urging people to stay inside. But even before UNC sent out the alert and fired up sirens and announcements to stay clear of windows, word of a confrontation between a knife-wielding man and another person was described in detail on Facebook.
The alert came during an NCAA women’s tournament game as the Tar Heels played the University of Tennessee at Martin in Carmichael Arena. Authorities locked the doors to the arena during the alert.
The news occurred with thousands of students and others already attuned to social media, just minutes before the Tar Heel men’s basketball team was to take on Iowa State in San Antonio for a chance to advance in the NCAA tournament.
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UNC officials said University Police first reported at about 4:20 p.m. that a man had displayed a knife or knives on campus near The Pit and then fled. Social media accounts tracked the suspect, who was described as leaving the student union building and heading toward the Lenoir Dining Hall. After being interrupted by two students, he headed toward Franklin Street, according to multiple accounts.
Within minutes, the man was apprehended by Chapel Hill Police at the Chapel of the Cross on Franklin Street and transferred into the custody of University Police.
Police did not immediately identify the suspect. No injuries were reported.
The university issued an “all clear” less than an hour after campus was put on lockdown.