The Shot Heard Around the World

When I first got an Alert Carolina email Tuesday evening about a shooting in Summerwalk Circle, I gave it as much thought as I have given other similar emails I’ve received throughout my time at Carolina. Which, considering pretty much all of them have been outside of the campus community, is only as much time as it takes to read the email. This evening was slightly different, as I took an extra moment to consider that it was unusual for this kind of thing to happen in a good neighborhood where I know many students live, but after a moment I went about my business.

A little over an hour later I got an email from my sorority just telling us that the University has not said that there is no eminent threat, but that we should still take caution and check in with our friends. This piqued my interest and made me a little nervous even as I got out of my car in my driveway and made my way outside. As I walked in my door I saw all of my roommates and all of my nervousness evaporated as I settled in and prepared for a quiet night at home.

This all changed with a text from my boyfriend, a first-year dental student here at UNC, shortly after I got home. He told me that a second-year dental student, his wife  – who was going to start dental school at UNC in the fall – and a third person had been shot and killed. I immediately went from unconcerned to complete shock and disbelief. Although my boyfriend is only in his first year of school, I have come to know how tight-knit his class has become in just over a semester. My heart broke for the entire dental community.


Before I went to bed I had learned the name and relation of the victims and heard that it might be a hate-crime. I received the first Alert Carolina email at 7:15, heard from my boyfriend at 8:59 the identity of the victims, and heard more details at the crime before I went to bed around midnight.

Before 10 o’clock, the entire dental school had already planned to wear red in his honor, because he was a huge NC State fan.

I knew all of this, and the names were not even publicly released until early Wednesday morning.

And even more amazing still, that less than 24 hours later – the news has spread worldwide.


This instance is further proof that news these days moves faster than the speed of traditional media. I knew everything almost 10 hours before even the names were released, and the Internet has allowed it to spread across the world in less than a day. If I were the media I would be terrified.

This is an absolute tragedy, and my heart still breaks for the family, the dental community, and the Muslim community. These were people with such potential, that would have made the world a better place.

Emma vanBree


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