UNC Wilmington professor Mike Adams died by suicide: cops
Dr. Mike Adams
The North Carolina professor found dead in his home — only days before he was forced to retire because of his racist social media posts — died by suicide, authorities said.
Mike Adams, 55, a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, was found dead alone in his home Thursday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a friend called New Hanover County sheriff’s deputies to check on him, The News & Observer reports.
Adams had been acting “erratic” in the past few weeks, during which he was “under a lot of stress,” his friend told a dispatcher, according to 911 call records cited by the newspaper.
Sheriff officials said foul play is not expected in Adams’ death, which was ruled a suicide following an investigation, the newspaper reports.
Adams, who reportedly reached a $500,000 settlement with the university, was set to retire on Aug. 1. He had been the target of several Change.org petitions calling for his ouster over “misogynistic, xenophobic, transphobic, homophobic, [and] racist rhetoric” tweets, including calling people protesting George Floyd’s police-custody death in Minneapolis as “thugs looking for an opportunity” to break laws without consequence.
His social media presence prompted university officials to denounce his “hateful, hurtful” language in a June 5 statement, saying his remarks were “absolutely reprehensible” but protected by the First Amendment.
Weeks later, university officials announced on June 29 that Adams decided to retire, effective Aug. 1, “in light of the public attention generated” by his contentious social media posts.
Adams’ neighbors, meanwhile, said they didn’t know him well, but described him as an affable person who kept to himself, The News & Observer reports.
“I was interested in talking to him once I found out exactly what he was all about,” neighbor Bryan Hanley told the newspaper. “I was like, ‘How do you handle that much pressure on you? You know nationwide people turned against you. How do you handle something like that? How do you handle that kind of stress?
Obviously, I wish none of this happened, it shouldn’t happen to anybody no matter how controversial you are.”