University of North Carolina
Tailei Qi

Doctoral student charged with killing professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Aug. 30, 2023
Tailei Qi, 34, allegedly shot associate professor Zijie Yan on Monday in the Caudill Labs on campus.

A doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death on campus of associate professor Zijie Yan.

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that Tailei Qi, 34, is being held in jail without bail the shooting. He faces a possible life sentence in prison if convicted on the murder charge. Prosecutors have said they ill not seek the death penalty.

On Monday, a 911 caller had reported shots fired inside the university's Caudill Labs at 1:02 p.m. and responders found Yan. Qi fled the campus but was arrested a short time later.

Police have not divulged a motive for the shooting. Yan ran a lab with two undergraduate students, one research assistant and three PhD students, including Qi. The group studies photonics and material sciences.

Qi joined the Department of Applied Physical Sciences at in 2022, after finishing a master’s degree at Louisiana State University. Before that, he completed an undergraduate degree in Physics from Wuhan University in China, according to his lab profile.

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