Suspect in University of North Carolina shooting is not competent for trial, his attorneys say

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Attorneys for a University of North Carolina graduate student say he is not competent to stand trial in the killing of his academic advisor

ByThe Associated Press

September 19, 2023, 5:48 PM

FILE - Law enforcement respond to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill campus in Chapel Hill, N.C., Aug. 28, 2023, after the university locked down and warned of an armed person on campus. Two shooting 30 years apart at the University of North Carolina show how much has changed. Some alumni who remember a deadly shooting in 1995 now have children enrolled at their alma mater in Chapel Hill, where an associate professor was shot to death Aug. 28. In some ways, the era of campus shootings has come full circle though there have been vast changes in the way information spreads. (AP Photo/Hannah Schoenbaum, File)

FILE – Law enforcement respond to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill campus in Chapel Hill, N.C., Aug. 28, 2023, after the university locked down and warned of an armed person on campus. Two shooting 30 years apart at the University of North Carolina show how much has changed. Some alumni who remember a deadly shooting in 1995 now have children enrolled at their alma mater in Chapel Hill, where an associate professor was shot to death Aug. 28. In some ways, the era of campus shootings has come full circle though there have been vast changes in the way information spreads. (AP Photo/Hannah Schoenbaum, File)

The Associated Press

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — Attorneys for a University of North Carolina graduate student accused of killing his academic advisor said in court on Tuesday that a doctor has found their client not competent to proceed with trial.

Defense attorneys for Tailei Qi told Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour they plan to file a motion challenging Qi’s capacity to proceed. Meanwhile, the judge granted a request from prosecutors to get a separate competency evaluation.

Qi is charged with killing Dr. Zijie Yan inside a campus laboratory on Aug. 28. Police were alerted when a 911 caller reported gunfire at Caudill Labs. Qi was not at the building when officers arrived soon after.

Police arrested the Chapel Hill resident without force off campus less than two hours after the shooting. He is being held without bond on charges of first-degree murder and having a gun on educational property.

The attack and hourslong lockdown terrified students and faculty who had just returned to campus for the start of the fall semester.

At the Tuesday hearing, Qi spoke multiple times, including asking for new attorneys, WTVD-TV reported.

Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour advised Qi to remain quiet.

“I don’t want you to say anything else today. What I want you to know is that you have two lawyers beside you who are willing to work for you and with you, and what they need from you is your cooperation and your help,” Baddour said.

The campus of the state’s flagship public university was locked down again last week over reports of an armed and dangerous person. No shots were fired and an arrest was made.

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