Authorities obtained an arrest warrant charging Qinxuan Pan, MIT graduate, with murder in the fatal shooting of Yale graduate student from Chicago Kevin Jiang, New Haven police announced Saturday.
Pan, 29, was last seen driving with family in Duluth or Brookhaven, Georgia earlier this month, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. Family members told investigators Pan was carrying a black backpack and was acting strange.
U.S. Marshals joined the investigation and charged Pan with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Police Chief Otoniel Reyes said Pan, should be considered armed and dangerous and the public should use "extreme caution" if they come into contact with him.
In early February, New Haven police were searching behind an Arby's. The restaurant is next to a Best Western hotel where police said Pan had been seen in Connecticut. Several plain clothes officers were using a dog and a metal detector to search in the snow and a wooded area behind the Arby's.
The general manager of the Best Western said Pan checked in around 10:30 p.m. with an ID and credit card. He never checked out and the room appeared to be untouched. The general manager said it didn't look like Pan stayed in the room Saturday night.
Emergency crews were called to Lawrence Street between Nicoll and Nash streets just after 8:30 p.m. after getting multiple 911 calls of gunfire and a person shot.
Jiang was found shot to death at the scene. He was a second-year master’s student at the Yale School of Environment, set to graduate next year. He served in the U.S. Army and was a member of the Army National Guard. He also mentored youth and volunteered cooking food at a homeless shelter, Yale's president said.
According to authorities, Jiang was operating a vehicle at the time of the shooting. Investigators are looking into whether he was involved in a vehicle accident before the shooting.
Police did not say whether Pan and Jiang had an existing relationship. However, MIT confirmed that Pan has been enrolled as a graduate student at the university since 2014. Jiang's fiancée graduated from MIT in 2020.
Jiang spent some of his youth in Chicago, attending part of his elementary years at St. Therese Chinese Catholic School.
"We extend our condolences to his fiancé, family and friends during this heartbreaking time," the school said in a statement. "The entire St. Therese community prays for his family, friends and the Yale community."
NBC 5 also learned Jiang was a member of The Cornerstone Chinese Church, formerly the Chinese Bible Church of Oak Park, during high school.
His youth pastor Mark Brunke said by phone that Jiang went through a "difficult time" but "it was the love of the church community and some key mentors in his life that absolutely transformed his path."
Jiang spent at least three or four years as a member of the church before he and his mother moved to Seattle, according to Brunke.
Another church member and friend had just spent time with Jiang and his fiancée over the holidays.
"I tried to provide a little guidance to him as I could and support him through some of the things he was going through," Chris Pullen said. "We maintained a friendship after he moved away."
Jiang was newly engaged. His fiancée Zion Perry told NBC 5 "Kevin was and is a gift from God. He was a true and righteous man after God’s own heart."