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UNC student body president fatally shot; police call it a random crime

JOEDY McCREARY
Associated Press Writer
AP Photo/Gerry BroomeStudents gather on campus during a memorial for University of North Carolina student body president Eve Carson in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday. Carson was found dead Wednesday morning around 5 a.m.
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. ” The University of North Carolina student body president was found shot to death on a city street in what police said Thursday appeared to be a random crime, stunning the campus community who knew her well.

Thousands of students gathered silently on campus to mourn Eve Marie Carson, whose body was discovered about a mile away early Wednesday.

The 22-year-old senior from Athens, Ga., had been shot several times, including at least once in the head, police said. Officials said there are no suspects and no arrests have been made.

“We have lost someone whom we cherish and love,” university Chancellor James Moeser told a massive crowd on the school’s Polk Place quad. “We’re all in a state of shock.”

A witness reported finding Carson’s vehicle, a blue 2005 Toyota Highlander with Georgia plates, near the main drag through the college town about 45 minutes west of Raleigh.

Toby Rice, of Chapel Hill, told The Associated Press his wife discovered the car and called 911.

“We saw it on the news and we heard the woman is the president of the student body, and she goes, ‘Oh my God, I just found the car,”‘ Rice said.

Lt. Kevin Gunter, spokesman for the Chapel Hill Police Department, declined to confirm whether police had found the car.

Carson’s body was found on the street at an intersection after neighbors reported hearing shots about 5 a.m. Wednesday in an upscale residential area. It was not clear why she was in the area, which does not have student housing.

Moeser said he got a call early Thursday informing him that Carson was the apparent victim.

“It was shocking,” he said. “I sat down and said ‘Oh my God.’ I couldn’t believe this.”

Police publicly identified the shooting victim as Carson on Thursday, and police Chief Brian Curran said her death appeared to be a random act.

“There is nothing to link this to anyone on this campus,” Moeser said. “We don’t want to overreact.”

On campus, students passed out daisies and carnations, and large boards were erected for students to leave written memories.

An evening candlelight vigil was planned, and dozens of counselors from both North Carolina and nearby Duke University were available to talk to students.

Carson was a prestigious Morehead-Cain scholar and a North Carolina Fellow, taking part in a four-year leadership development program for undergraduates.

A premed student, she majored in political science and biology, taught science at a Chapel Hill elementary school, studied abroad in Cuba, and spent summers volunteering in Ecuador, Egypt and Ghana as part of a school program.

In her position as student body president, she was a member of the university’s Board of Trustees. Moeser said he last saw Carson on Tuesday, at the Tar Heels men’s basketball game against Florida State.

“This is a tragedy magnified and multiplied by the number and depth of relationships, many relationships that Eve Carson had on this campus,” Moeser told the students. “This enormous throng is a testament to the many and deep relationships.

“Eve Carson personified the Carolina spirit.”

A man answering the phone at her father Bob Carson’s business, Carson Advisory Inc. in Athens, said the family had no comment.

Maxine Easom, the principal of Clarke Central High School in Athens, where Carson graduated as valedictorian in 2004 and was also elected student body president, said she and staff members were devastated.

“Eve was just the most wonderful young woman you would ever want to know,” Easom said.

“She was brilliant. She was absolutely beautiful. Everything she did was aimed at helping other people. It’s one of the greatest tragedies I’ve ever known. Eve was one of the young women who could change the world.”

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Associated Press writers Estes Thompson in Raleigh, and Daniel Yee in Atlanta, Ga., contributed to this report.