Local News

Chapel Hill leaders reiterate commitment to community safety

Posted July 31, 2014

— 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.


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  • HailBasket Aug 4, 2014

    I'm a UNC student. This is the first semester that I purchased a parking permit. UNC-Chapel Hill and CHPD seemingly increasingly allow con artists, aggressive panhandlers and shady people to run rampant. Most women who walk on Franklin are subjected to lewd comments and intimidation by loiterers and I've seen men peeing and yelling at other bystanders. They say that they're committed, but they will do nothing. As soon as I graduate I will leave this area and plan on living elsewhere. Chapel Hill isn't a bad town, but it tolerates criminal behavior although for a town its size it has an able and capable police force to deal with the problem. Durham, Carrboro and Chapel Hill should work together in order to curb crime. How many more random acts of violence will occur for the police to actually do something besides arresting "pot" users and other non-violent law breakers.

  • Jerry Sawyer Jul 31, 2014
    user avatar

    If our country had an SS police state that routinely went about "removing" criminals from the streets during the night (never to be seen again): over time, the rate of violent crime would plummet. But the criminals are free to plunder, because they know the consequences are very low.

  • KnowsItAll Jul 31, 2014

    View quoted thread

    "The control nonsense is just the NRAs ploy to catch the nutty libertarian vote...."

    The NRA also does not allow visitors to carry guns into the NRA Headquarters.
    They advocate for guns in elementary schools, but aren't so dumb that they want people coming into THEIR offices to have guns. LOL. hypocrisy abounds.

  • btneast Jul 31, 2014

    The fact of the matter is that even banning guns, which won't happen, will not get rid of guns. The black market has and always will supply the populace what it wants regardless of legality....see prohibition, war on drugs, prostitution, etc. Banning citizens the right to bear arms would make this country no longer the United States of America. It is a cornerstone right just like the others guaranteed by the Constitution. Once you allow one of those fundamental rights to be changed or altered, you open the door to the others being changed as well. This isn't Europe, nor is it supposed to be. There's a reason people left Europe to form this country, and this was one of the reasons. The problem is with behaviors , not inanimate objects. Guns have been in most American households from the beginning, probably a higher percentage in the past than now......societal acceptance of anything goes is catching up to us.......

  • Grand Union Jul 31, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Gun regulation is not about control at all. Thats just more right wight paranoia. EVERY other western democracy has gun regulation that works just fine and they are every bit as free as here......and they have 1/4 the chance of being murdered as we have because of their gun regulation.

    The control nonsense is just the NRAs ploy to catch the nutty libertarian vote....

  • Grand Union Jul 31, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Please reread the very first post where you asserted that the guy having a gun would have prevented this tradegy. If you cannot even remember what you posted only a few hours before then perhaps its time you stopped posting.

    and for the person that posted this link
    Perhaps you could tell us how you think that helps your case? Yers lots of other countries have bigger murder problems than the US, by my pouint was that no WESTERN country comes anywhere near the problems of the US as regards murder and guns. Now perhaps the gun lobby think we live in the 3rd world.........

  • censorbait Jul 31, 2014

    If Durham and Orange county citizens keep electing liberal revolving door judges then nothing will ever change and the crime wave will continue.

  • neverindoubt Jul 31, 2014

    start with enforcing panhandling laws, public urination laws and drunk in public laws. Next FREE PARKING with no towing. Get rid of the bums and the people who could deter crime simply by being there in large numbers to might come back. As it is now, people don't want to come to CH. Last time I was downtown, my car almost got towed and my middle schoolers were treated to a bum screaming the F word at the manager of the restaurant we were eating in because he refused to allow the man to use the bathroom. No thanks. I'll take my family and my money somewhere way more welcoming.

  • KnowsItAll Jul 31, 2014

    "A criminally insane individual will use what is at their disposal to commit a crime gun control will not solve that issue."

    So if the guy in Fayetteville had used a knife instead of an assault rifle, you think he could have "knifed up" that mobile home the way he shot it up with his rifle? Think the granddad would be dead from a knife the guy threw from a truck? Would a knife have gone through the walls to kill the 10 year old standing in the hall?

    If guns aren't the problem, then why does anyone need them for "protection"? If a criminal can do as much damage with a knife or a rock as with a gun, then couldn't an honest citizen also use a knife or a rock for protection rather than a gun?

    It seems like this "guns aren't the problem" theory only works on 1 side of the argument.

  • KnowsItAll Jul 31, 2014

    "Gun control is NOT about guns, its about CONTROL."

    The left certainly has no monopoly over trying to control the lives of others. Amendment 1 is a perfect example. It is not about marriage. It's about CONTROL.