A Yale University graduate student from Chicago was killed over the weekend in a shooting near the New Haven, Connecticut, campus, with police now investigating whether he was targeted.
The shooting took place in the East Rock neighborhood, in the area of Lawrence and Nicoll Streets, right around 8:30 Saturday night, February 6.
New Haven Police Chief, Otoniel Reyes identified the slain student on Monday as 26-year-old Kevin Jiang of West Haven and asked for the public’s help in identifying and capturing his killer.
According to authorities, Kevin was either in or near his car at the time of Saturday night’s shooting in the city of New Haven. Investigators are looking into whether he was involved in a vehicle accident before the shooting in which he sustained multiple gunshot wounds and died on the scene.
Jiang was a former member of the Army National Guard and a second-year master’s student at the Yale School of Environment.
“We have developed information suggesting that this incident may not have been an actual random act that he in fact was targeted,” said New Haven Police Chief Otoniel Reyes.
“We are looking into whether or not Mr. Jiang was actually targeted during this incident,” Reyes said. “We have developed information suggesting that this incident may not have been an actual random act, that he, in fact, was targeted.”
Reyes said police are also investigating if Jiang was shot following a road rage incident.
“We do believe that he was there for a purpose. We just can’t share that at this time,” Reyes said, adding that the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Yale University Police Department are assisting in the investigation.
“We’re exploring every possibility, including whether or not there was an accident that precipitated this incident or whether or not it was road rage,” Reyes said.
In a statement, Yale University President Peter Salovey said he spoke with Jiang’s mother and offered his condolences.
He also stated that in addition to his studies, Jiang volunteered at a homeless shelter cooking and distributing food. Mr. Salovey also said Jiang was also conducting research on mercury levels in fish in the Quinnipiac River Watershed and helped manufacturers comply with local and federal environmental laws.
“Kevin gave so much to this community and we had worked together. We remember him fondly. We feel for his family, his fiancee and we express our condolences to them,” Salovey said. “This is a tragedy that has hurt all of us. In the days ahead, I hope we can focus on each other’s well being and support one another.”
Jiang’s death marks the sixth homicide in New Haven this year, police said. In 2020, New Haven recorded 122 shootings and 20 homicides, up from 77 shootings and 11 homicides in 2019, according to Reyes.
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