Man Facing Charges After UNC Employee Injured in Fire Incident On Campus

VIDEO: UNC Explosion At Davie Poplar Tree

CARRBORO, N.C. – A spokesperson at the UNC Chapel Hill confirms Joshua Daniel Edwards is facing charges after a fire and small explosion injured a professor Thursday afternoon. 

Edwards is currently not enrolled at the university. He's listed as junior who was majoring in Biology, but withdrew from the school in 2016.

He's facing an arson charged but others could be filed, according to UNC Media Relations. Edwards is getting a mental evaluation and hasn't been officially charged. 

PREVIOUS DETAILS | Carrboro police said a suspicious car that was in the area of W. Weaver Street and Lindsay Street, and a device that was detonated at the Davie Poplar tree on UNC-Chapel Hill's campus are related. 

UNC officials say campus police have one person in custody. They described the device at the tree as small.

UNC Sophomore Davis Propst Dawson said that the person screamed “This is the Revelation! You’ve witnessed the anti-Christ!” as he was on the ground being detained.

He also repeated “Hail Satan!” multiple times, Dawson said.

UNC officials said one person was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

UNC junior Evan White, who saw events unfold, said a professor who tried to put the fire out was injured.

“I saw a giant ball of flames preceded by a large boom, the sound of it going off, and ran to the scene to find a professor fairly significantly burned from trying to put out the fire,” White said.

White said people frantically tried to help the professor until police and EMS workers arrived.

“I find myself relieved that he’s been arrested, but honestly still distressed that those type of people operate within our normal society,” White said.

Dawn Goodfriend who filmed the video also stayed with the victim until paramedics arrived. 

Davie Poplar is a well-known campus landmark. According to UNC, legend says it marks the spot a Revolutionary War general selected for the university in the 18th century. The tree has survived lightning strikes and hurricanes, the university says.

Carrboro police Cpt. Chris Atack said UNC campus police contacted Carrboro police with information about a vehicle parked on West Weaver Street.

“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.”

Police evacuated the area for several hours, but later gave the all-clear.

The Durham County bomb squad was on scene and investigating, police said. Just before 7 p.m., Carrboro police said that a loud boom heard in the area was the Durham County Sheriff’s Office breaching the car.

UNC police gave Carrboro police information that caused them to worry something in the car could be a danger to the public. Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting in the case. The State Bureau of Investigation is also involved.

The two locations are about a mile apart.

 

Copyright 2017 WNCN


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