Local News

Safety a top concern following UNC professor's murder

Posted July 26, 2014 10:36 p.m. EDT
Updated July 26, 2014 10:57 p.m. EDT

— The mayor of Chapel Hill will meet with UNC Chancellor Carol Folt next week to discuss safety concerns following the murder of a university professor. 

Feng Liu, 59, of Durham, a research professor in UNC's Eshelman School of Pharmacy, was assaulted and robbed at about 1 p.m. Wednesday near the intersection of West University Drive and Ransom Street, police said. He died Thursday. 

Chapel Hill residents were saddened and stunned by the incident. 

"I am absolutely flabbergasted," said resident Charlene Gilliam. "I never could have anticipated something like that happening."

Derick Davis II, 23, of Scots Pine Crossing in Durham, and Troy Arrington Jr., 27, of Johnson Street in Chapel Hill, have been charged with first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon in the case.

Authorities said  "a landscape stone" was used to beat Liu about the head. Police said they have no reason to believe that Liu was targeted by his attackers.

While the community is shaken up by the crime, students say they feel safe around campus. 

"As a student at Chapel Hill, I feel relatively safe because the university has so many programs in place to make students feel safe," said student Janel Nghiemle. 

Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt called the crime a "horrible tragedy" and plans to focus on safety.

"A safe and secure environment is fundamental to our quality of life in Chapel Hill and, as a community, we must not tolerate such senseless violence. The Town and the University continue to partner on those matters impacting quality of life in Chapel Hill, public safety being chief among them," Kleinschmidt said. "I offer my heartfelt condolences to Professor Liu's family, friends, members of the University community, and all who knew him."