Device detonated at historic tree on University of North Carolina campus

Police in North Carolina took a suspect into custody following the detonation of a device on the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's campus and are investigating a suspicious package in downtown Carrrboro. Photo by The PNM/Wikimedia

Nov. 3 (UPI) — Authorities in North Carolina arrested a suspect Thursday amid an investigation into an explosion at a college campus and a suspicious device about a mile away.

Police evacuated parts of downtown Carrboro after a suspicious package was found in the area on Thursday afternoon. Earlier, an explosive device went off at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill campus.

Carrboro Police Department announced Durham County Sheriff’s Office bomb squad was on the scene to investigate the package at about 5 p.m.

About a mile away at 3:40 p.m. a small device detonated at the base of Davie Poplar, a tree that is a well-known landmark on the UNC campus, university police said.

Police managed to contain a fire at the tree before taking a suspect into custody. UNC police said there was no ongoing threat to the campus.

Student witnesses said the suspect began shouting “Satan!” while being taken into custody.

Video from the scene showed a person attempting to stomp out the fire before the device detonated.

One person sustained non-life-threating injuries and was transported to the hospital.

Carrboro Police Capt. Chris Atack couldn’t say whether the two incidents were connected, but university police called the department to report a vehicle parked near a bank in Carrboro.

“That information led us to be concerned,” Atack said. “We’re not sure what we are dealing with but we want people to be safe.”

David Poplar is a 300-to-375-year-old tulip poplar tree named after Revolutionary War Gen. William Richardson Davie, who founded UNC.


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