New information has emerged revealing that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate who has been named a person of interest in the fatal shooting of a newly engaged Yale graduate student knew the victim’s fiancee – as US Marshals continued searching the suburbs of Atlanta for the wanted man.
The Marshals Service on Thursday announced a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the location and arrest of Qinxuan Pan, who is being sought on active warrants related to a vehicle theft, and is wanted in connection with Kevin Jiang’s shooting death in New Haven, Connecticut, last Saturday.
According to the agency, Pan, described as 6 feet tall and weight 170lbs, was last seen in the early morning hours of Thursday – five days after Jiang’s murder – driving with relatives in Brookhaven or Duluth, Georgia.
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This photo from March 2020 shows murdered Yale student Kevin Jiang’s fiancee, Zion Perry (left), laughing with MIT graduate Qinxuan Pan (far right), who is a person of interest in Jiang’s killing
The US Marshals Service is looking for Pan (left) in suburban Atlanta, Georgia. He is wanted for questioning in connection to Jiang’s (right) shooting death in New Haven, Connecticut
‘According to family, Pan was carrying a black backpack and acting strange,’ the Marshals Service said in a press release.
Pan could be staying with friends or family in Brookhaven or Duluth, which are located more than 900 miles southwest of New Haven.
The US Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force have been asked by local authorities to assist in tracking down Pan.
Connecticut District Deputy US Marshal Supervisor Matthew Duffy told N
Photos showed Pan and Perry interacting at the Lindy Hop Society Bread & Bones Birthday Jam celebration on March 4, 2020.
One of the photos from the event shows the two smiling broadly while chatting with another man.
No evidence have been presented so far to suggest that Pan and Perry had dated, but during a press conference earlier this week New Haven Police Chief Otoniel Reyes said investigators are not ruling out the possibility of a romantic rivalry.
Investigators want to question Pan in connection with the killing of Jiang, 26, a student of Yale’s School of the Environment, who was shot multiple times and found lying outside his car on a New Haven street on Saturday night.
Police came into contact with Pan a short time after the killing on an unrelated matter, but let him go without any charges, saying there was no probable cause to detain him at that time.
It has been reported that Pan was in the vicinity of the crime scene and checked into a nearby hotel two hours after Jiang was killed.
Jiang, a Seattle native, had gotten engaged just a week prior to his girlfriend of one year, Perry. Perry was previously an undergraduate student at MIT where Pan works as a researcher in computer science and artificial intelligence.
On March 4, 2020, Perry and Pan (pictured center) interacted at the Lindy Hop Society Bread & Bones Birthday Jam celebration
Pan, who is wanted on two warrants, one accusing him interstate theft of a vehicle out of Massachusetts, and another for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, is a person of interest in Jiang’s slaying, Reyes said.
‘He is not a suspect at this time,’ Reyes said. ‘We are not prepared to identify him as the shooter at this point.’
A short time after Jiang’s death, police in North Haven were called to a junkyard on Universal Drive after getting a report about a man behind the wheel of a vehicle with a flat tire.
Officers found that Pan had a valid driver’s license and that the vehicle was properly registered.
‘At the time, there was no reason for the officers to do a sobriety test, or pat him down,’ North Haven Police Chief Kevin Glenn told the Independent. ‘The vehicle was checked and found to be properly registered. Mr. Pan had a valid license, and the vehicle was not reported stolen at the time.’
Police had the car towed, and Pan rode with the tow truck driver to the Best Western Hotel on Washington Avenue, where he and the officers parted ways.
It was not until that evening when the North Haven police learned that the vehicle Pan was driver was reported as stolen out of Massachusetts.
When officers returned to the hotel to talk to Pan, they discovered he had fled the state.
Pan works as a researcher in computer science and artificial intelligence at MIT, where Jiang’s fiancee, Zion Perry, (pictured with him) was an undergraduate student
On January 30, Jiang shared a video on his Facebook page, showing him popping the question to Perry while on a hike to celebrate their dating anniversary. He wrote: ‘She said YES!’
According to his Facebook page, which has been dormant since 2016, Pan is a native of Shanghai, China, who works as a researcher in computer science and artificial intelligence at MIT, where Perry, Jiang’s fiancee, was an undergraduate student.
When asked about a possible romantic rivalry involving Pan, Jiang and his fiancee, Chief Reyes said on Wednesday that investigators are ‘certainly not ruling it out.’
Pan graduated from MIT with undergraduate degrees in computer science and mathematics in June 2014 and entered the prestigious school’s graduate program two months later.
Perry earned a Bachelor’s degree in bio-engineering from MIT in 2016.
Jiang was found shot dead next to his rear-end damaged Prius at about 8.30pm on Saturday in New Haven.
‘We are looking into whether or not Mr. Jiang was actually targeted in this incident,’ Reyes told reporters on Monday. ‘We have developed information suggesting that this incident may actually not have been a random act, and that he in fact was targeted.’
Pan is wanted on two warrants, including for possession of a stolen vehicle. He works as a researcher in computer science and artificial intelligence at MIT
‘We are looking into whether or not Mr. Jiang was actually targeted in this incident,’ New Haven Police Chief Otoniel Reyes said at a press conference on Monday
Police were initially looking at the possibility that Jiang was shot after a car crash, as his Prius had rear-end damage
With the killer still at large, the tight-lipped chief did not offer much further information.
But he did suggest that neighbors had seen interactions earlier in the day that shed light on the murder of Jiang.
‘Additional callers reported seeing much during that day – we do not want to give that information because the investigation is ongoing,’ Reyes said.
Chief Reyes said that it was ‘too early to establish any motive whatsoever.’
New Haven police said 911 callers reported hearing at least seven gunshots at 8.30pm near the intersection of Lawrence and Nicoll streets in the East Rock neighborhood.
Responding officers found Jiang lying in the street and he was pronounced dead. The case is being investigated as a homicide.
Jiang was a second-year student at the Yale School of the Environment
Police said 911 callers reported hearing at least seven gunshots at 8.30pm on Saturday near the intersection of Lawrence and Nicoll streets in New Haven
A neighbor said she was in her living room when she heard two shots, followed by a pause, and then at least five more shots.
‘When we finally looked outside, there was someone lying in the middle of Lawrence Street,’ she told the
Salovey, the Yale president, said his staff had been in touch with Jiang’s family.
‘I wish to convey to them and to all others who loved Kevin my sincere condolences,’ Salovey said. ‘Kevin was an extraordinary young man.’
Just a week before his slaying, Jiang got engaged and posted a video on his Facebook page that captured the moment he went down on one knee and popped the question while the pair were on a hike.
Jiang and his girlfriend, MIT graduate Zion Perry (right), had been dating for a year
‘She said “YES!”; Jiang wrote ecstatically in a status update on January 30. ‘Zion sweetheart – you’ve really made a huge impact in my life! Ever since I met you, God has been working in my heart and changing my heart for the better, helping me become more generous and kinder to others . You are the most kind, beautiful, forgiving, patient, faithful woman I’ve ever met. I love you more than words can say.’
According to his LinkedIn profile, Jiang served as a tank operator in the US Army and was in the Army National Guard.
The 26-year-old veteran earned a degree in environmental studies from the University of Washington before starting his graduate studies at Yale in 2019. He was a member of the Class of 2022.
‘I know this tragedy comes during a year that has already been filled with so much sorrow,’ School of the Environment Dean Indy Burke wrote in a statement on Sunday. ‘Please know that we in our school stand ready to support you.’
Jiang served as a tank operator in the US Army and was in the Army National Guard
After serving his country and earning a Bachelor’s degree in environmental science from University of Washington, Jiang in 2019 started his graduate studies at Yale
Jiang, like his fiancee, was a devout Christian and an active member of a New Haven church
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker addressed Jiang’s killing and other violent crimes that have been committed in the city, vowing to ‘be relentless in efforts to provide justice for all of the victims, their families and loved ones,’ reported
Jiang was a devout Christian and an active member of Trinity Baptist Church, where he had been volunteering his time every week for the past two years.
‘Earlier this week, I had agreed to officiate Kevin’s wedding,’ Co-Pastor Greg Hendrickson wrote in a Facebook post. ‘Now, we will be officiating his funeral instead. As a community, we are grieving deeply right now. But Kevin lived by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
‘Above all he looked forward to Jesus’ promise of the resurrection from the dead. Though his earthly life was cut short, he used the time that he had on earth to the fullest. His example inspires us to do the same.’
On his Facebook profile Jiang wrote: ‘Life is a gift that I am so thankful for.’
Jiang would have celebrated his 27th birthday this week. His death marks the sixth homicide in New Haven so far this year.
Anyone with information about Pan’s whereabouts should contact the U.S. Marshals at 1-877-Wanted-2 (1-877-926-8332). Pan should be considered armed and dangerous.