Chapel Hill leaders reiterate commitment to community safety
Posted July 31
Chapel Hill, N.C. — A week after the violent, midday death of a university professor, the mayor of Chapel Hill and chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill issued a joint letter reiterating their cooperation in the interest of public safety.
Research professor Feng Liu, 59, of Durham, was taking a lunchtime walk near the intersection of West University Drive and Ransom Street on July 23 when he was assaulted and robbed. He died of his injuries the next day.
"Random acts of violence may make us feel vulnerable," wrote Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and Chancellor Carol Folt.
"The Town of Chapel Hill and the University are tightly interwoven law enforcement jurisdictions," the pair wrote, listing several programs in which town and university police work together.
"As always, we recommend our residents, including students, take normal personal safety precautions," they wrote.
The men accused in Liu's murder – Derick Davis II, 23, of Scots Pine Crossing in Durham, and Troy Arrington Jr., 27, of Johnson Street in Chapel Hill – both had criminal histories and had recently been released from jail.
Davis was released from the Wake County jail on June 22 after serving three weeks on a shoplifting charge, according to the Wake County Sheriff's Office.
Arrington posted a $5,000 bond on July 2 after spending 10 months in the Durham County jail in connection with an August 2013 residential burglary in which a dog was stolen. He was wearing an electric monitor on his ankle when he was arrested.
At a Wednesday night vigil in memory of Liu, Folt said, "There is nothing more important than the safety of our campus and community, and as we go forward, that too will part of everything we do."
Those at Wednesday's vigil walked from the building where Liu worked to where he was killed, the same path he took last week.
Liu was a highly regarded and published cancer researcher. He was leading a team of graduate students on projects funded by the National Institutes of Health when he was killed.
A second vigil is planned for Saturday at UNC’s Memorial Hall.
Plans are in the works to create an endowment and scholarship in Liu's name.