Local News

Vigils for Slain UNC Student Body President Draw Thousands

Posted March 6, 2008
Updated March 9, 2008

— About 5,000 mourners filled The Pit on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus Thursday evening for a candlelight vigil to remember the school's student body president – the victim of a shooting that has sent shockwaves through the UNC community.

Chapel Hill police reported Thursday morning that they had identified a woman found dead in a neighborhood about a half-mile from the campus on Wednesday as Eve Marie Carson, 22, of Athens, Ga. (Read more about the investigation and view related video.)

Police found her body at the corner of Hillcrest Road and Hillcrest Circle about 5:15 a.m. while responding to reports of gunshots nearby. The UNC senior suffered multiple gunshot wounds, including one to the head, authorities said.

"We're all in a state of shock," UNC Chancellor James Moeser said during an informal afternoon gathering in which a, a solemn, similar-sized crowd of students, faculty and staff flocked to the quad outside Polk Place.

At a makeshift memorial behind the old campus YMCA building, students left flowers on the ground and messages on large boards. Staff from the university's counseling center and Duke University were on hand, and they planned to be available for the remainder of the week and next week.

"We are all hurting. We are all grief-stricken – stunned," Moeser said. "This university needs an enormous group hug. It's OK to cry. It's OK to be filled with grief."

Gov. Mike Easley also ordered all state flags on the campus lowered to half-staff.

“There are few other words that can express the sorrow of such a promising life ended so soon and so violently,” he said in a statement.

Carson, a pre-med major studying political science and biology, was active in leadership and service roles. As a Morehead-Cain scholar, she spent her summers volunteering and working overseas in Ecuador, Egypt and Ghana.

She was also a tutor at Githens Middle School in Durham her junior year and an assistant coach with Girls on the Run in 2005, according to the university.

"Eve Carson personified the Carolina spirit. She did it, perhaps, more profoundly than anyone I've known my whole time here," Moeser said. "She felt the very pulse and heartbeat of this university."

"She was just an incredible person that I think had an effect on a lot of people's live," UNC senior Katie Eagan said. "The way in which she died was obviously a shock. I think we're all just trying to process it right now."

By midday Thursday, Chapel Hill police had located Carson's blue 2005 Toyota Highlander in Chapel Hill, about a mile from where her body was found. Investigators said they believe it had been stolen after the killing.

With no suspects or possible motives disclosed, officers spent Wednesday and part of Thursday following up and searching for leads to try to identify Carson.

Police found no identification with her body, but they said a physical description and a pair of unusual tennis shoes she was wearing helped them find out who she was.

"We're at the very beginning of this investigation," Chapel Hill Police Chief Brian Curran said. "A lot of it, up to this point, was just trying to figure out who the victim was."

Curran urged anyone with information about that might help police to call the police department at 919-968-2760 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515.

Calling her a person who touched lives not only on campus but also throughout the town, Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy said the town was reeling from Carson's death.

"Her service as student body president, a member of the (UNC) Board of Trustees and (in) other ways only provides a glimpse of the person that Eve was," he said.

"She was happy, vivacious, intelligent, engaged and a presence in our community whose absence leaves a permanent void in our hearts and in our lives.”

"She really brought you into the Carolina family, made you feel like we're all united here," UNC student Gina Mottesi said. "And something like this just impacts you in a way you wouldn't expect it to."


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  • apd475 Mar 7, 2008

    In the end life will leave this story behind. She will be missed and honored but her achievements were cut short. Had she lived she would be making the right kind of headlines but instead there will be morning that will be replaced with moving on with life. The one(s)who did this will still be around and eventually when they are caught, be it the police or their lifestyle they will get the headlines and all the good memories about her will be distorted by a slick criminal attorney who will say his client had a troubled childhood, a low IQ and a low self esteem. Her good was snuffed out and unfortunately life goes on and her good acts were less important in the scheme of things than this evil that befell her.

  • wine_girl Mar 7, 2008

    *quiet sad sigh*

  • newtodurham Mar 7, 2008

    This crime and any murder of the innocent that do more for the world than take up space and air and actually contribute to mankind.
    Instead of forming a lynch mob, do something good in the world, and if enough of us do so the people that try to put out the flame of hope will be outnumbered.

  • newtodurham Mar 7, 2008

    I am sure that there is a building or gardens in plans of dedication to her memorial to commemorate the footprint she left on the campus and the world.

  • atozca Mar 7, 2008


    Our society is proof that a lack of punishment is the cause of the lack of respect for self, authority and others and that is why these acts of violence against others occur regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, education, etc. Society is a direct reflection of the families that create society.... broken. When we allowed the schools to teach our children to report parent's for spanking them, we allowed a governing body to take away our basic right to discipline our children. For the fanatics against spanking... there is a difference between spanking and physical abuse. This is why we need to quit stripping ourselves of power and authority over our children and families by letting the governing body make laws over our personal choices and beliefs. Instead, we need to protect our rights to enjoy freedom of religion (religion being our basic beliefs not just Christianity) and not freedom from religion which is the goal of the liberal activist.

  • jurydoc Mar 7, 2008

    For those of you saying "multiple gunshots to the head" read a little more closely. It says multiple gunshots, with at least ONE to the head. And the one who said her "face was obliterated" and the other who mentioned a "shotgun" STOP interjecting false information that people will just pick up and run with. Let the police do their jobs and investigate before all the armchair profilers create more foment over an already tragic situation.

  • Six String Mar 7, 2008

    We all love our respectivee schools and engage in fierce competition in athletics and academics -- this is a time for all of us to come together as one voice. May God watch over her and her family.

  • justjean Mar 7, 2008

    Very tradgic. My prayers go out to her family and friends. Want to bet it was a man who did this?

  • Morrisville Mar 7, 2008

    I hope they catch the idiot that did this. This girl deserved nothing but a full life to live, which was taken short by someone. I hope they find this person that did this in the next couple days.

  • TinyToni Tenderoni Mar 7, 2008

    I watched the vigil last night from home....It was beyond words....