A former UNC student now faces several felony charges in last week’s fire and explosion on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, but he had not been arrested as of late Monday afternoon, according to a UNC Public Safety spokesman.
Joshua Daniel Edwards, 24, was taken into custody Thursday immediately after the explosion and fire that scorched the landmark Davie Poplar tree on UNC’s campus. UNC professor Dan Reichart was injured in the explosion when he tried to put out the fire by kicking dirt on it.
Reichart, who lives in Hillsborough, is being treated at UNC Hospitals for first- and second-degree burns to the face and arms.
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UNC professor Dan Reichart tries to extinguish a fire allegedly set by a man who was later arrested when a device explodes at the base of the Davie Poplar on the UNC campus Thursday afternoon, Nov. 2, 2017. Reichart is being treated for burns, an Video by Dawn Goodfriend, Photo by Evan White
Edwards was taken for a psychiatric evaluation, UNC Public Safety spokesman Randy Young said. There is no definite timeline for his arrest, he said, but arrest warrants have been taken out against him.
Edwards will be charged with six felony counts of malicious use of explosives to inflict injury, malicious use of explosives to damage property, assembling a weapon of mass destruction, setting fire to grass or grassland, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and filing a false police report, Young said.
Edwards will get his first court date when he is formally charged, Young said.
UNC News Service has confirmed Edwards is a former biology student at UNC who withdrew from classes in 2016.
The tree was examined Friday by university arborist Tom Bythell, who said the damage appeared to be superficial.
James Hunt recorded this video as he approached a fire burning at the base of the Davie Poplar on the campus of UNC Thursday afternoon. Shortly after an explosion from erupted from the fire, the voice of a man shouting "Hail Satan' can be heard. James Hunt