A Yale graduate student was murdered in a volley of gunshots Saturday night, and police believe he may have been "targeted" in the attack.
Kevin Jiang, 26, had returned from a long day out with his new fiancée, Zion Perry. Both avid nature lovers, they’d gone ice skating and ice fishing at a nearby lake, returning to Perry’s apartment that evening to cook their catch, Perry told local publication the New Haven Independent.
Around 8:30 p.m., neighbors reported hearing numerous gunshots in the street. Police arrived to find Jiang dead at the scene, New Haven Police Chief Otoniel Reyes said at a Monday press conference.
“We have developed information suggesting that this incident may not have been an actual random attack and that [Jiang] was, in fact, targeted,” Reyes said.
Witnesses reported seeing a “shiny new black vehicle” fleeing the scene, Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins said in an email to Yale students that was reviewed by Oxygen.com. However, Reyes said this was “much more up-close” than a drive-by shooting.
He did not elaborate on a suspected motive.
In addition to being a second-year master’s student at Yale School of the Environment, Jiang had served as a tank operator and environmental scientist in the Army and Army National Guard, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also helped cook and distribute food at a local homeless shelter, according to the Independent.
He and his fiancée had met in January 2020, when Perry was still an undergrad at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She moved to New Haven after being accepted into a Ph.D. program at Yale – and just seven days before his death, Jiang had proposed to her, according to the Independent.
“Earlier this week, I had agreed to officiate Kevin’s wedding. Now, we will be officiating his funeral,” Greg Hendrickson, a pastor at Jiang’s church, said in a Facebook post.
Jiang was just four days away from his 27th birthday on Feb. 14.
No arrests have yet been made in this case. Anyone with information is urged to contact New Haven Police at (203) 946-6316.
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