The Yale University graduate student, whose body was found on a Connecticut street next to his car in February, was shot multiple times at close range in an attack that investigators said was carried out by an MIT researcher who wanted to date the victim’s fiancée.
The possible motive behind the February 6 killing of Kevin Jiang was included in a detailed arrest warrant unsealed in court on Friday.
The 96-page document also stated that Jiang’s suspected killer, 30-year-old Qinxuan Pan, has been tied to a string of other recent shootings in New Haven, including one targeting a local school district official, which took place the night before the homicide.
Jiang, 26, had gunshot wounds to his head, chest and extremities when he was found dead next to his fiancée’s home in the East Rock section of New Haven, according to the warrant.
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Qinxuan Pan, 30 (left) appears in Connecticut court on June 1 to face charges for the killing of Kevin Jiang, 26 (right), who was found shot in the face at close range
A judge set bail for Pan at $20million after he was deemed ‘armed and dangerous and an extreme flight risk’
Pan’s attorney, William Gerace, has applied for the amount to be reduced to $1million
Pan, 30, was charged with first-degree murder in connection to Jiang’s death and arrested in Alabama in May following a three-month international manhunt. He was extradited back to Connecticut and arraigned May 20.
Investigators discovered that Pan and Jiang’s fiancée, Zion Perry, were friends on Facebook, and had met while at MIT, from which both had graduated. Pan was working as an artificial intelligence researcher. The two interacted at various Christian group events on campus and also communicated online.
According to the documents cited by New Haven Independent, Perry told authorities ‘they never had a romantic or sexual relationship, they were just friends, but she did get a feeling that he was interested in her during that time.’
Jiang proposed marriage to Perry during a hike on January 30, and she posted photos and a video of the engagement that same day on Facebook, where it was accessible by her friends and the public, including Pan.
At a June 1 court appearance, a judge set bail for Pan at $20million after he was deemed ‘armed and dangerous and an extreme flight risk.’
Pan’s attorney, William Gerace, applied for the amount to be reduced to $1million. Asked for comment about the court documents, Gerace said in an email, ‘Mr. Pan is presumed innocent.’
Pan’s mother spoke to reporters outside the courtroom, describing what happened in February as ‘sad,’ according to Fox 61.
Gerace said Pan is his parents’ only child, and that he has been their ‘whole world’ since they moved to the US from China in 2007.
Jiang’s fiancée, Zion Perry (right), who knew Pan from MIT and was friends with him, told police she felt ‘he was interested in her’
According to court documents released June 11, Jiang had gunshot wounds to his head, chest and extremities when he was found on February 6 at the corner of Nicoll and Lawrence Street in New Haven (pictured)
Pan has yet to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. He is due back in court on July 13.
Gerace told NBC Connecticut that his client has no criminal record and is an ‘affable’ young man.
‘I can’t imagine him doing this crime,’ he said.
The arrest warrant and search warrants outlined that Jiang had left the apartment of his fiancée after a day of fishing.
Perry told authorities that she heard gunshots but didn’t think of Jiang because she assumed he had already left the area.
In the documents, authorities said audio and video surveillance records showed Jiang getting out of his car after what sounded like a collision and approaching a vehicle behind him. Then the sounds of gunshots is audible.
The warrants also include authorities saying a short time later, police in nearby North Haven had to tow a car from railroad tracks where it had gotten stuck. The driver was Pan, who told them the car was a rental but couldn’t produce any documentation.
Authorities said he disappeared after being taken to a motel, which police discovered when they went to find him the next day. They had gone looking for him after workers at an Arby’s restaurant next door reported finding a bag with a gun, ammunition, license plates and a briefcase outside. One of the officers recognized the bags as having been in Pan’s car the day before.
Pan allegedly killed Jiang less than a week after the victim proposed marriage to Perry, who posted photos (pictured) and a video of the engagement on Facebook
This photo from March 2020 shows Zion Perry (left), laughing with Pan (far right). The two knew each other from their involvement in Christian groups on campus
Bullets allegedly used by Pan (left and right) in Jiang’s killing have been tied to at least four other recent shootings, one of which took place the night before. Pan was arrested in Alabama in May after a three-month search
Jinag’s blood and tissue were recovered from the stolen SUV Pan was caught driving, from a grey knit hat he was observed wearing, as well as from a leather briefcase that was found abandoned at the Arby’s, according to the warrant.
An analysis by authorities determined that bullet casings found near Jiang’s body were not connected to the gun recovered by Arby’s workers.
However, police were able to connect the bullets recovered at the scene of Jiang’s killing to those used in at least four other recent shootings, including an incident that took place the night before the homicide were shots were fired at the Beaver Hills home of New Haven Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Paul Whyte.
The affidavit states that the bullets used to kill Jiang were also linked to shots that were fired in December 2020 on Huntington Street, in January 2021 on Stimson Road, and on Shepard Street in Hamden just hours before the Yale student’s deaths. No one was hurt in any of the other shootings.
The documents did not outline how authorities found Pan in Alabama, where prosecutors said he had rented an apartment under a false name, and was found with $19,000 in cash, his father’s Chinese passport and several cellphones.