Yale graduate student shot dead may have been ‘targeted’: police

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A Yale University graduate student fatally shot in Connecticut may have been “targeted” in a road rage incident, police said.

Kevin Jiang, a 26-year-old enrolled in Yale’s School of the Environment, was shot multiple times late Saturday on a street in New Haven’s East Rock section and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The city’s police chief told reporters Monday that investigators now believe Jiang’s slaying wasn’t an act of random violence, but stopped short of speculating on a motive, the New Haven Independent reported.

“We are looking into whether or not Mr. Jiang was targeted,” Chief Otoniel Reyes said. “We have developed information that the incident may not have been a random act, that he was in effect targeted … This was not a drive-by. This was much more up close.”

Reyes said investigators had “very specific” leads in the case, but declined to elaborate what immediately preceded the shooting. Jiang’s body was found near his Toyota Prius, which had rear-end damage – prompting police to look into whether a car crash led to his slaying, the newspaper reported.

“We’re exploring every possibility including whether or not there was an accident that precipitated this incident or … whether or not it was a road rage incident,” Reyes told reporters. “There is a lot of speculation as to what occurred. We’re exploring every angle and every possibility. We do have very specific leads that we’re exploring.”

Yale University graduate student Kevin Jiang (inset) was fatally shot multiple times late Saturday on a street in New Haven’s East Rock section in Connecticut.Yale University graduate student Kevin Jiang (inset) was fatally shot multiple times late Saturday on a street in New Haven’s East Rock section in Connecticut. AP; LinkedIn (inset)

A message seeking comment from New Haven police was not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.

A coroner ruled that Jiang died from gunshot wounds to the head, neck, torso and extremities, marking New Haven’s sixth homicide of the year, the New Haven Register reported.

A Facebook profile for Jiang, of West Haven, showed video of his Jan. 30 engagement to his 22-year-old girlfriend, Zion Perry, after one year of dating. The Yale biophysics doctoral student told the New Haven Independent their bond was centered on their shared Christian faith.

“The first thing that comes to mind is Jesus,” Perry told the outlet Monday of Jiang. “He was a vessel for his love. [Jiang] touched so many people … I can’t believe I had the privilege of actually knowing him. I don’t regret a single memory.”

Perry declined to say where she was when Jiang was fatally shot, saying she wanted to instead focus on remembering the better times they shared.

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Kevin Jiang, a Yale biophysics doctoral student, was set to graduate with a master’s degree in environmental science this fall, according to Yale.

LinkedIn

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A memorial for Kevin Jiang near the scene of his fatal shooting in New Haven, Connecticut.

AP

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Jiang started studying at Yale after two years in environmental consulting. He was also an Army veteran – serving a tank operator and a chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear officer — and an Army National Guard member. He was set to graduate with a master’s degree in environmental science this upcoming fall, Yale officials said.

“This is a difficult loss for our community, and the coming days, weeks, and months will be challenging as we grieve together,” School of the Environment Dean Indy Burke Burke said in a statement.

Jiang was set to celebrate his 27th birthday on Feb. 14, according to his Facebook page.

“Life is a gift that I’m so thankful for,” Jiang’s Facebook bio read.

With Post wires

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