New Haven police chief Otoniel Reyes on Monday identified the murdered student as West Haven 26-year-old Kevin Jiang and asked the public for help in identifying and apprehending his killer.
Jiang was a former member of the Army National Guard and a sophomore at the Ivy League University School of the Environment.
“The Yale community is sad now. This is the loss of an extraordinary young man. He is committed to using his talent to improve the world,” Yale president Peter Salovey said at Monday’s news conference.
Reyes said police received a number of 911 calls at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday and responded to the East Rock neighborhood, several blocks northeast of the university, where Jiang, who suffered several gunshot wounds, was found. He said Jiang was pronounced dead on the spot.
“We’re investigating whether Mr. Jiang was really targeted during the incident or not,” Reyes said. “We have developed information that suggests that this case was probably not an accidental act and that he was in fact targeted.”
Reyes said police are also investigating whether Jiang was shot after a road rage.
He said Jiang operated a vehicle around the shooting and knew the area where the murder took place, but Reyes refused to say whether Jiang was in his car or outside when he was killed.
“We think he was there for some purpose. We just can’t share that at this time,” Reyes said, adding that the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Yale University Police Department are assisting the investigation.
“We’re looking at every possibility, including whether there was an accident that triggered the incident or whether there was no road rage or not,” Reyes said.
Salovey said that in addition to her studies, Jiang volunteered to cook and distribute food at a homeless shelter. He said Jiang also conducted research on fish mercury levels in the Quinnipiac Watershed and helped manufacturers comply with local and federal environmental laws.
“Kevin has given so much to this community and we have worked together. We remember him with love. We love his family, his bride and we express our sympathy to them,” Salovey said. “It’s a tragedy that has hurt us all. In the coming days, I hope we will be able to focus on each other’s well-being and support each other.”
Jiang’s death this year is the sixth homicide in New Haven, police said. According to Reyes, in 2020, New Haven recorded 122 shootings and 20 homicides, compared to 77 in 2014 and 11 homicides.
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