The university identified the victim as Kevin Jiang, a 26-year-old graduate student at the Yale School of Environment, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Monday.READ MORE: Brian Laundrie's Remains Found In Florida Nature Reserve, Officials Say
A sense of shock and sadness has settled on the Yale community.
“I don’t have a memory of him where he wasn’t smiling and happy. And even if you didn’t agree with all his views, he was more than happy to be your best friend,” said graduate student Rebecca Dube.
Police said the Saturday night shooting was not random. The department is trying to piece together the last moment’s of Jiang’s life and figure out what preceded the gunfire on a quiet, snowy street.
Around 8:30 that night, residents in the East Rock neighborhood heard the distinct sound of gunfire.
News conference at New Haven PD with update on murder of @Yale grad student Kevin Jiang. Was shot multiple times in his car. Chief Reyes says multiple angles being investigated including possible “road rage” incident. pic.twitter.com/tH19o6lXce
— Tony Aiello (@AielloTV) February 8, 2021
“I heard, like, around seven rapid gunshots. I turned the lights off because I was scared,” one man told Aiello off camera.
Police said someone shot Jiang multiple times. He was found near his car, which had rear end damage.
One possible motive police are exploring is a violent escalation after a road rage incident.READ MORE: 7-Year-Old Honorary NYPD Officer Diagnosed With Chronic Respiratory Failure Leaves Hospital
“We’re exploring every possibility, including whether or not there was an accident that precipitated this incident, whether or not it was a road rage,” said New Haven Police Chief Tony Reyes.
“We do have very specific leads that we’re exploring. We’re not ruling anything out at this time,” Reyes said.
Gun violence is a growing concern in New Haven. Last year, there were 122 shooting incidents in the city, up from 77 in 2019.
Jiang, originally from Chicago, was an Army vet and posted on Facebook just last week his joy about getting engaged.
What a heart-rending loss—to Kevin Jiang’s family, fiancé, & all of us. A dedicated veteran & generous community member, his death by apparent gun violence is so deeply sad. https://t.co/ITmAAe9n7f
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) February 8, 2021
“My office has been in close contact with members of Kevin’s family. I wish to convey to them and to all others who loved Kevin my sincere condolences,” Yale University President Peter Salovey said in a statement sent to the community. “Kevin was an extraordinary young man.”
Friends said Jiang was a devout Christian who was involved in multiple ministries at Trinity Baptist Church, which is less than a mile from where he was killed.
“He distributed food and cooked for a homeless shelter. He mentored youth,” said Salovey. “He was committed to applying his talents to improving the world.”MORE NEWS: About 1,000 Full Propane Tanks Found Illegally Stored At Queens Warehouse
Yale is offering resources for those grieving.