Former Clarkson University professor killed in UNC shooting on Monday

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WWTI) – A former Clarkson University professor was identified as the victim of a fatal shooting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus on Monday, August 28.

Zijie Yan was shot and killed inside a science building at the state’s flagship public university. Police arrested 34-year-old Tailei Qi and charged him with first-degree murder and having a gun on educational property.

Yan was an assistant professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Potsdam-based institution from 2015 to 2019. He earned his doctorate at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the field of material engineering in 2011.

Yan was “a beloved colleague, mentor and a friend of so many on our campus and a father to two young children,” UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said at the news conference.

He joined the UNC faculty in 2019 and was an associate professor in the Department of Applied Physical Sciences. He ran the Yan Research Group that Qi was a part of since last year.

The lab’s main goals were making and studying nanoparticles under the effect of light, using lasers, he said. The work has potential applications in medicine and other fields.

Investigators were trying to determine a motive and Qi is being held without bail in the Orange County (N.C.) Jail. Monday’s attacked put the campus on lockdown as the police searched for the gunman.

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