A Yale University graduate student from Chicago who was killed in a shooting in Connecticut was remembered Monday by family and friends as they expressed heartbreak in wake of his death.
According to authorities, Kevin Jiang, 26, was operating a vehicle 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.
Jiang was a second-year master’s student at the Yale School of Environment. In a statement, Yale University President Peter Salovey said he spoke with Jiang's mother and offered his condolences.
"He was an extraordinary young man, and his loss is a shocking and senseless tragedy for his family, for all who loved him, and for our community," Salovey said.
Jiang 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.
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 has 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 fiancé 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 fiance, 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."
Jiang was set to graduate from Yale in 2022 and would have turned 27 next week.
Perry, Jiang's family and friends held a memorial service via zoom Monday night.
Details about additional remembrance events for Jiang will be posted on the school’s website.