The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill gathered inside the Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center to remember Zijie Yan two days after he was shot and killed. This comes as UNC Chapel Hill will resume classes Aug. 31, after they were canceled from Aug. 29 and 30.  

The event was moved inside the Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center due to rain caused by Tropical Storm Idalia. The university estimated 5,000 attendees at the vigil and reported that there were 10,000 viewers on its livestream. 

Theo Dingemans, the chair of the department of applied physical sciences at UNC Chapel Hill, spoke at the vigil about his late colleague.

“Zijie would have wanted us to move forward,” Dingemans said.

Yan had been an assistant professor at UNC Chapel Hill and worked in the Applied Physics Department. Yan’s family was present at the event. 

Tailei Qi appeared inside the Orange County Courthouse in Hillsborough, North Carolina Aug. 29, where he was charged with first degree murder and a felony for having a firearm on educational property. Qi will be held without bond until his hearing on Sept. 18. 

The UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz also spoke at the vigil.

“I want to thank the people across our state, our nation and around the world for the support and well wishes that they offered for the University and all of us,” Guskiewicz said. “We feel it, and we are moved by it.”