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News Release

For immediate use 

Carolina campus back to normal following Jeep attack in the Pit

The Carolina campus is quiet with Spring Break this week and returning to normal following a March 3 incident in which a suspect drove a rented Jeep into the Pit area shortly before noon.

Nine people sustained minor injuries. Six were taken to UNC Hospitals but released later the same day without being admitted. The other three declined treatment on the scene.

The suspect, Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, 22, remains in Raleigh’s Central Prison and is being held on a $5.5 million bond. UNC police charged him with nine counts of attempted first-degree murder and nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill. He received a bachelor’s degree from UNC in December 2005.

"Our ongoing investigation indicates that the suspect’s motive was to avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world," UNC Director of Public Safety Derek Poarch said. "There is every indication in this early stage of the investigation that he acted alone. There is no indication whatsoever that he acted in concert with anyone."

Chancellor James Moeser has publicly condemned "this contemptible act of violence" in an e-mail to the campus community.

Following the incident, some questioned if it should have been called a terrorist attack. Whether or not it was terrorism in the legal sense is something that the federal authorities will determine, university officials said. The law-enforcement investigations continue. Laws with respect to terrorism are federal laws, and the FBI has been involved in the investigation from the beginning. No federal authorities have called the Pit incident a terrorist act.

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