“Safety Is Our Highest Priority”: Police Chiefs React To Fatal Attack

On Friday afternoon, Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue and UNC Police Chief Jeff McCracken issued a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to public safety in the wake of the death of UNC professor Feng Liu.

Liu was attacked and robbed in broad daylight on Wednesday afternoon, reportedly while taking a walk near campus. He died of his wounds at UNC Hospitals the following morning. Two men have been arrested and charged with murder.

Chief Blue and Chief McCracken’s statement follows.

Dear Chapel Hill Community:
Our hearts go out to Professor Liu, his family, loved ones and colleagues during this very difficult time and in the wake of an unspeakable and senseless tragedy.

Safety is our highest community priority.

During this difficult time, we are reminded of the importance of the partnerships that have been formed between the University and the Town. None are stronger than the partnership between the Chapel Hill Police Department and the University’s Department of Public Safety.

Both of our departments embrace community-based policing and support our community safety partnerships with students, faculty, staff, business leaders, residents and community organizations.

We understand our residents will be concerned any time a crime like this occurs in our community. Our departments will continue to listen to you, share information and vigilantly work together to determine how we can keep our community safe.
Sincerely,
Chris Blue, Chief, Chapel Hill Police Department
Jeff B. McCracken, Chief and Director, UNC Department of Public Safety

http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/safety-highest-priority-police-chiefs-react-fatal-attack/

UNC Professor Dies After Robbery And Assault Near Campus

Originally posted July 24, 2014, 10:31 a.m.

A research professor at the Eshelmen School of Pharmacy died at UNC Hospitals on Thursday morning from wounds suffered during a beating and robbery Wednesday afternoon. Now, the two suspects in custody for the assault face murder charges.

Feng Liu

Feng Liu

Chapel Hill police found 59-year old Feng Liu, of Greyfield Boulevard in Durham, suffering from serious head wounds on West University Drive shortly after 1 p.m. on Wednesday. According to the News and Observer, prosecutors said Liu was hit in the head with a rock.

“Officers got there and determined he had been assaulted and robbed. He was taken to UNC ER for treatment,” says Lieutenant Josh Mecimore. “Later that evening, we were able to identify some suspects and charge them.”

Police arrested Derick Davis II, 23, of Scots Pine Crossing in Durham and Troy Arrington Jr., 27, of Johnson Street in Chapel Hill.  Both men face charges of murder, felony robbery, and assault.

Derick Davis II

Derick Davis II

Troy Arrington Jr.

Troy Arrington Jr.

Davis is being held under a $100,000 secured bond and Arrington Jr. is being held under a $75,000 secured bond.

***Update from Chapel Hill Police July 25, 2014, 8:46 a.m.: Derick Davis II and Troy Arrington Jr. have been charged with First Degree Murder in the death of Feng Liu. Davis and Arrington are currently being held in the Orange County Jail without bond.

 ***Update from the News & Observer: Arrington was reported to be in between drug rehab programs. He scheduled to meet with his pretrial-release manager the same day of the attack.

Liu studied pharmaceutics science at Shenyang Pharmaceutical University in China and received his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. His research focused on gene and drug delivery.

After the news of the death of the UNC professor, many people on social media showed their concern that the incident occurred in the middle of the day in a residential area.

 

 

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WCHL’s Mary Yount went to Franklin Street yesterday afternoon to gather reactions.

Here’s what you had to say:

A Statement from Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt:

The death of Professor Feng Liu as a result of a serious assault and robbery Wednesday afternoon is a horrible tragedy and a loss for the Chapel Hill community.

 

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.

 

Two suspects are currently in custody in the Orange County Jail in connection with this horrible incident. I have the utmost confidence in the investigation that is being conducted by the Chapel Hill Police Department, which will provide information to the public as it becomes available.

 

I offer my heartfelt condolences to Professor Liu’s family, friends, members of the University community, and all who knew him.

A Statement from UNC Chancellor Carol Folt:

Dear Carolina community:

 

I am writing in regard to the tragic loss of a member of the Carolina community. As many of you know, Dr. Feng Liu, a research professor in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, passed away this morning in what the Chapel Hill Police Department is calling a robbery/homicide. This is a tremendous loss to Carolina, and I am heartbroken over this horrible tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Liu’s family, colleagues and friends during this difficult time.

 

Dr. Liu spent nearly 10 years at Carolina and was dedicated to the success of his students. He conducted important research on gene and drug delivery in the School of Pharmacy. Most importantly, he was a loving husband and father who will be greatly missed.

 

The Chapel Hill Police Department has arrested two individuals in connection with this tragedy. We will update the University’s Alert Carolina website, http://alertcarolina.unc.edu, as new information is available.

 

The University is cooperating fully with Chapel Hill police in this investigation. I want to assure you that safety and security of students, faculty, staff and visitors on Carolina’s campus and in the surrounding community is my highest priority.

 

During this time of loss, the Carolina Community has resources to help us in our grief. We are making counseling resources available. We encourage students to call Counseling and Psychological Services (919-966-3658), and faculty and staff to contact our Employee Assistance Program (877-314-5841), if you would like support.

 

I encourage all members of the Carolina Community to process their grief and support one another.

 

Sincerely,

 

Carol L. Folt

http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/2-face-charges-robbery-victim-dies-following-assault/

CHPD Chief: ‘Robbery/Murder A Random Act’

Chapel Hill citizens are expressing through social media their concern for safety after a random act of attempted robbery led to the death of a UNC professor Wednesday afternoon.

Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue says he wants to assure all citizens that the police officers are constantly monitoring the community for suspicious activity to help keep the town as safe as possible.

“We’re proud of the nature of our community’s safety,” Chief Blue says. “It’s something that we all work very hard on as community members. In fact, we all have a responsibility for it, and I’m proud of the way our community rises to that challenge. I will say that this one is particularly troubling because it’s so random—in the middle of the day. All of our sense of safety as community members takes a hit when something so random and unexplained happens, as was the case here. Immediately our reaction as a police department is to increase presence in the neighborhoods and knock on doors and reassure folks. But, we also recognize that grieving and dealing with this kind of shocking circumstance takes some time. We’re scratching our heads a little bit just like everyone else in the community is about just why and how this could happen.”

WCHL’s Ran Northam spoke with Chief Blue

The incident took place just a couple blocks west of the UNC School of Public Health and split of Pittsboro and South Columbia streets. Fifty-nine-year-old Feng Liu, of Greyfield Boulevard in Durham and a professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy was known to take a walk through the community during his lunch break, according to multiple media outlets. Colleagues said it was a way he reenergized himself daily.

Chief Blue says he can’t release any additional information because the investigation is ongoing, however, he says it was a town employee that first arrived to find Liu in need of medical attention. According to the News and Observer, prosecutors said Liu was hit in the head with a rock. He died at UNC Hospitals.

Public Information Lieutenant Josh Mecimore says the list of items stolen from Liu has not yet been released.

UNC Police Chief Jeff McCracken was out of town Friday and unable to be reached.

In a statement released through Alert Carolina, Chief McCracken emphasized how important it is to always be prepared.

“People should have a plan in mind about how to respond in an emergency because it’s very difficult to plan for an emergency when you’re in the middle of one,” he said. “It’s important for people to know beforehand where the exits are, where the fire escapes are, the safest place in the building to be if a tornado is spotted, that kind of thing. Planning decreases panic and increases the chance for a better outcome in an emergency situation.”

http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/ch-police-chief-robberymurder-random-act/

Meadowmont B&Es: Reminders To Hide Valuables

The Chapel Hill Police Department is reminding you to secure valuables in your vehicles after a couple break-ins occurred last weekend.

The manager of the Meadowmont Community Association sent an email to the community saying two vehicle break-ins took place Sunday at the YMCA pool complex in Meadowmont.

Chapel Hill Police Public Information Lieutenant Josh Mecimore confirmed the break-ins occurred sometime between 2:30 and 5:00 p.m. He said a purse was taken from one car and a GPS and wallet were taken from the other. The vehicles were locked, however, all of those items were left in plain sight.

Lt. Mecimore said taking the extra time to put your valuables in the trunk or glove box could reduce the temptation that may be worth the risk to the would-be criminal of breaking a window in the middle of the day.

http://chapelboro.com/news/meadowmont-bes-reminders-hide-valuables/

Hedgepeth Murder Information To Be Released

Updated 6:25 a.m., July 3, 2014

Investigative documents and 911 calls regarding the murder investigation of UNC student Faith Hedgepeth were unsealed Wednesday, according to the Daily Tar Heel.

Durham County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning ordered the redacted search warrants and un-redacted 911 calls to be released after The Daily Tar Heel, Capital Broadcasting Company, Inc. and the News and Observer Publishing Company filed the motion to halt the sealing orders on March 3.

A 911 call tells how Hedgepeth’s roommate, Karena Rosario, found her face down in her bedroom. She told the 911 operator that she believed someone was in their apartment and even Rosario’s room.

The search warrants released were heavily redacted, but they showed that the Facebook accounts and laptops of Rosario were search, the apartment was search on September 7 and 10, and that police searched a 2012 Jeep on September 11.

Nineteen-year-old, Hedgepeth was found dead by her friends in her off-campus apartment on September 7, 2012.

The cause of death remains sealed, although Hedgepeth’s parents have said they believe she was beaten to death.

Durham County District Attorney Leon Stanback first asked the court to seal the documents three days after Hedgepath’s death, to keep from “compromising the investigation.” Since then, the documents have been sealed every 60 days, until the motion to halt the orders was filed.

According to the state’s previous motion to keep the documents sealed, there were search warrants for a 1977 Honda Accord, a unit in Hedgepeth’s apartment complex, and her own apartment, WNCN reported. Investigators also searched a laptop and a Facebook account.

Stanback told WCHL News in September of 2013 that he would seek to keep the documents sealed for as long as the courts allow.

The Durham District Attorney’s Office will prosecute a suspect, should any arrests be made, though the Chapel Hill Police Department is the investigating agency.

On January 8 of this year, the CHPD released details of the investigation, including DNA of a male suspect found at the scene.

Authorities continue to seek any information that could help in the investigation. Anyone with information should call the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-614-6363 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515.

A reward up to $39,000 is available to anyone with information that can help solve the case.

http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/hedgepeth-murder-information-released/

Pedestrian Hit In Chapel Hill Identified

The pedestrian that was struck just before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at the crosswalk in the 100 block of West Franklin Street, between 140 West and Columbia Street, has been identified as Lindsay Hawkins.

Chapel Hill Police says Hawkins was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. An officer says the vehicle that struck Hawkins stayed on scene until police arrived. Hawkins was walking with a group of friends when the incident occurred.

“So far, the driver of that vehicle has not been charged, but the investigation is still ongoing,” says Lieutenant Josh Mecimore of the Chapel Hill Police. “Charges typically, if they were going to happen, wouldn’t until we were completely finished with the investigation. The fact that no charges have been taken is not an indication that they won’t be.”

WCHL will continue to provide updates as the investigation continues.

http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/pedestrian-hit-chapel-hill/

Sunday AM Franklin Street Shooting

Story originally posted 8:17 a.m., June 22, 2014

A shooting early Sunday morning in the 100 block of East Franklin Street sent one man to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.

Chapel Hill Police report the shooting took place shortly after 2:30 a.m. Sunday. Ledarren Deshawn Parker of N. Gutherie Avenue in Durham was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and resisting arrest. Parker was found a short distance away from where the shooting took place, according to police. He is being held in the Orange County jail on a $15,000 bond.

When police arrived at the scene, the found Steven Charles Moore Jr. suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to UNC Hospitals’ ER for treatment.

http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/sunday-franklin-street-shooting/

UNC Student, 21, Dies; Cause Of Death Still Unreleased

A UNC student from Raleigh died on Thursday in Chapel Hill.

Harris Pharr was 21 years old. He was about to enter his senior year at Carolina, majoring in biomedical engineering. Pharr was also a member of the Chi Phi fraternity.

It’s the second loss in as many years for the Chi Phi brothers: David Shannon was pledging the fraternity in October of 2012 when he fell to his death in Carrboro.

Chapel Hill police have not yet released any information on Pharr, including the cause of death. WCHL will provide updates as we receive them.

http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/unc-student-21-dies-cause-death-still-unreleased/

Murder Investigation Documents Still Sealed?

The investigative documents into the murder of UNC sophomore Faith Hedgepeth remain sealed, pending a ruling on a motion filed by the local media to unseal the documents.

It’s been more than 20 months since the crime took place, and on March 3, The Daily Tar Heel, Capital Broadcasting Company, Inc. and the News and Observer Publishing Company filed the motion to halt the sealing orders.

Durham County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning is reviewing the motion. While he does, the documents remained sealed despite the last 60-day order’s expiration on May 18.

WCHL left multiple messages with Durham’s Assistant District Attorney Charlene Coggins-Franks and District Attorney Leon Stanbeck in the last three weeks to inquire the latest about the case, but they didn’t return the calls.

The 19-year-old was found dead by her friends in her off-campus apartment on September 7, 2012. Authorities have said they don’t believe the crime was a random act, though they haven’t disclosed how she was killed or information about a possible suspect or suspects.

Stanback first asked the court to seal the documents three days after Hedgepath’s death, to keep from “compromising the investigation.”

According to the state’s motion to keep the documents sealed, there were search warrants for a 1977 Honda Accord, a unit in Hedgepeth’s apartment complex, and her own apartment, WNCN reported. Investigators also searched a laptop and a Facebook account.

Stanback told WCHL News in September of 2013 that he would seek to keep the documents sealed for as long as the courts allow.

The Durham District Attorney’s Office will prosecute a suspect, should any arrests be made, though the Chapel Hill Police Department is the investigating agency.

On January 8 of this year, the CHPD released details of the investigation, including DNA of a male suspect found at the scene.

Chapel Hill Police continue to express that this is not a cold case and that it is continuing to follow leads.

Authorities continue to seek any information that could help in the investigation. Anyone with information should call the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-614-6363 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515.

A reward up to $39,000 is available to anyone with information that can help solve the case.

http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/murder-investigation-documents-still-sealed/

Friday’s Homicide Investigation Continues

Story originally posted 2:02 p.m., June 2, 2014

Questions remain in Friday’s homicide in Southeast Chapel Hill as the investigation rolls on.

Chapel Hill Police Public Information Lt. Josh Mecimore confirmed Monday afternoon that no new information was available. When the first reports came in of the shooting, a few details were reported that are still unclear. The incident was initially reported as a break-in, but Lt. Mecimore said neither the victim nor the suspect were residents of the home where it took place at 102 S. Christopher Road. He said the dispatcher might have first used that description when there was little information.

South Christopher Road runs parallel to 15-501, Fordham Boulevard, and the home is next to the onramp from NC-54.

Lew Hahn Hood, 33, of Chapel Hill was pronounced dead at the scene on Friday afternoon, after police officers responded to a report of a shooting. Police say Hood had multiple gunshot wounds.

Bartholomew Romidas Scott, 35, of Durham was arrested and charged with first degree murder. He’s being held without bond in Orange County Jail, and had his first appearance in court Monday.

The Chapel Hill News reports that Scott’s attorney, Matt Suczynski, told the court Monday that it was Scott who called 911 to summon police to the scene. While the investigation is ongoing, Orange and Chatham District Attorney Jim Woodall said police believe, “at this time”, Scott is responsible for killing Hood.

Woodall also said police are trying to figure out if anyone else was involved.

Alert Carolina reported Friday that there were two black male suspects. UNC Department of Public Safety spokesperson, Randy Young said that was the early report released by Chapel Hill Police, that two black males were involved. Lt. Mecimore said Chapel Hill Police were not looking for a second suspect.

A June 12 probable cause hearing is now scheduled for Scott to determine whether police have enough evidence to hold him on the murder charge.

http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/fridays-homicide-investigation-continues/