Alleged killer of Yale grad student may have been interested in victim’s fiancée

The fiancée of the Yale graduate student who was allegedly gunned down by Qinxuan Pan believed that Pan was interested in being more than friends with her.

The revelation is among a trove of new details contained in court documents that were unsealed on Friday, the Hartford Courant reports.

Pan, 30, has been charged with murder in connection with the February killing of Kevin Jiang in New Haven, Connecticut.

An arrest warrant affidavit released publicly on Friday states that Jiang’s fiancée, Zion Perry, knew Pan from their time as students at MIT, but had not spoken since she graduated in May 2020, according to the newspaper.

However, they were still friends on Facebook, where Pan may have seen posts and photos from Perry announcing her engagement to Jiang one week before the killing.

“They met while attending various Christian group events on campus,” the affidavit reads, according to the newspaper. “They talked at those events and she invited him to other events to welcome him. 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.”

Federal authorities arrested Pan on May 19 in Montgomery, Alabama, where he was found renting an apartment using a false name. Agents found $19,000 in cash, seven cellphones and his father’s passport.

It remains unknown publicly exactly how law enforcement tracked Pan down.

However, the documents do offer new details about police activity in the hours and days after the shooting.

Investigators believe that Jiang, 26, was shot around 8:30 p.m. Feb. 6 near the Yale University campus.

Jiang, a veteran of the U.S. Army, had just left his home. Perry recalled hearing gunshots several minutes later but believed that Jiang had already left the area.

A witness reported that after she heard gunshots, she saw “the shooter standing over Jiang firing two shots in a downward direction toward Jiang as he lay in the street,” court documents state, according to the newspaper.

Another witness told authorities they saw a light-skinned man get into a black GMC Terrain SUV following the ordeal.

Surveillance cameras recorded the sounds of eight gunshots, a scream, and then more shots, the Courant reports.

Jiang would be found lying near his car and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Thirty minutes later, police in North Haven was called after an employee of Sims Metal Management reported a suspicious vehicle – a black GMC Terrain – on the company’s property, according to WFSB-TV. The driver was Pan, who told police that “he accidentally drove onto the train tracks and the vehicle was stuck.

Pan stated he took a wrong turn or missed the highway entrance as he was trying to get to Massachusetts,” the television station reports.

Pan claimed the vehicle was a rental, although he had no rental agreement and could not explain why the vehicle had been reported stolen.

Police seized the vehicle, but they brought Pan to a Best Western hotel nearby to stay the night.

An hour later, a bulletin from New Haven police told authorities to be on the watch for a black GMC Terrain and the driver, who had a yellow jacket.

Workers at a restaurant next to the hotel reported to police that they had discovered a .45-caliber handgun, gun paraphernalia, multiple license plates and other objects. One of the officers who responded recognized the yellow jacket, a MetroPCS knit cap, and a briefcase as items he had seen in the GMC Terrain.

Police then descended on the Best Western but could not locate Pan and determined he had not stayed in the hotel room.

By Feb. 8, the U.S. Marshals began helping search for Pan and started examining data from phones and vehicles connected to Pan’s family.

One of Pan’s phones was tracked to a North Carolina gas station, but Pan was not found there.

License plate readers showed that a Lexus used by Pan’s mother crossed a bridge in New York shortly after 3:30 a.m. the day after Jiang was killed.

License plate reader history data showed that the same vehicle had at one time been just 1,000 feet from Perry’s residence on the night of Nov. 17, 2020, the newspaper reports.

Five days after the killing, the Lexus was tracked to suburban Atlanta. Agents stopped the vehicle and found Pan’s parents inside. They told authorities that Pan had asked them to come to Connecticut several days earlier to help him, that Pan had lost his phone and that they had seen him earlier that morning.

Neither of Pan’s parents have been charged with any crime in connection to Jiang’s death.

Pan’s defense attorney, William Gerace, told the newspaper: “My client’s parents are wonderful, decent people.”

The court records also show that authorities believe blood found on the GMC Terrain’s gear shifter is likely from Jiang, according to the Courant.

Ballistics evidence further shows that shell casings recovered from the scene where Jiang was shot and killed are from a handgun tied to four other shootings, including two that involve a black GMC Terrain, the newspaper reports.

Pan is in custody on a $20 million bond, which his lawyer has appealed, arguing it is unconstitutionally high. Prosecutors had asked for a $50 million bond because of his family’s wealth and potential flight risk.

Pan’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 13.

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[Feature Photo: Left: Kevin Jiang and Zion Perry/Facebook Right: Qinxuan Pan/New Haven Police Department]