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Equipment move on UNC campus sparks concern

Posted January 6, 2011

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— Public safety officials at the University of North Carolina said rumors of a gunman on the Chapel Hill campus Thursday morning were unfounded.

Campus police officers were helping move a piece of research equipment into a building on Mason Farm Road occupied by GlaxoSmithKline, UNC Public Safety spokesman Randy Young said. He declined to specify what equipment was being moved.

Employees in a nearby building reported seeing a rooftop sniper, but Young said officers were providing protection and noted the process took longer than expected. There was never a threat to anyone on campus, he said.

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  • Humungous Jan 6, 2011

    Had it been a bonafide, "true" sniper, he wouldn't have been seen.

  • dwr1964 Jan 6, 2011

    Desperate for a story are we WRAL?

  • scientistjo Jan 6, 2011

    Move along! Nothing to see here!

  • Smokin Jan 6, 2011

    Yep, radioactivity. Nope, didn't finish anywhere near on time. Was sitting at my desk when I heard LOTS of sirens, etc. Figured it was the move and decided that curiosity, in this case, could kill the cat and stayed put.

  • YesIdid Jan 6, 2011

    The email did not go out to all the employees of the building involved. Also, the employees were never notified that the heavy police presence would be IN their building that had nothing to do with the radioactive move.

  • mpheels Jan 6, 2011

    No, nothing is fishy. There is a lot of research going on at UNC that involves materials we don't want to get into the wrong hands. The same is going on a pretty much every large research university in the country. NCSU has a fully functional (though small) nuclear reactor on campus! In this case it was radioactive material, which is pretty normal to find at hospitals and research facilities, but still requires heavy security when moved from point A to point B. The university notified the people they thought would be affected, but the move took longer than expected, more people witnessed the process than expected, and someone was alarmed. Chapel Hill and Campus police were well aware of the move, so when the concerned parties called 911, the police were able to react appropriately, which is to say, they diffused the panic and moved on.

  • mpheels Jan 6, 2011

    From the email sent to all med school employees:

    "This move involves heavy police presence and police officers will be in the parking decks and along the route. This would be a good night to avoid being in the neighborhood, and jokes will be taken very seriously during this move."

    Whether or not people read the email, I don't know, but the information was circulated.

  • thezebradiva Jan 6, 2011

    Please note: the building that the armed sniper was in was not the Glaxo building, but a neighboring building. Therefore, people in such building would not have expected an armed gunman in the hallway.

  • Mugu Jan 6, 2011

    Something is fishy.

  • racinjunki Jan 6, 2011

    The move took place in the wee hours, and was supposed to be done by 6:30am,

    They missed the cue on this too as it was in the middle of rush hour when this was going on (8:30 to 8:45) and two blocks away from the parking decks.

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