Qinxuan Pan is an artificial intelligence researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is wanted by police as a person of interest in the shooting death of Yale University graduate student Kevin Jiang. The New Haven Police Department in Connecticut announced on February 10, 2021, that a nationwide search is underway for Pan, 29, in the February 6 killing of Jiang.
Police stopped short of naming the MIT researcher as a suspect in Jiang’s death but said they are trying to find him for questioning in connection to the ongoing investigation.
Here’s what you need to know about Qinxuan Pan:
1. Qinxuan Pan Is Considered ‘Armed & Dangerous’
“I am asking that the public knows that Mr. Pan should be considered armed and dangerous, and that extreme caution should be used if you come into contact with this individual,” New Haven Police Chief Otoniel Reyes said in a February 10 press conference shared by the New Haven Independent.
Police have issued an arrest warrant for possessing a stolen vehicle.
Anyone with information on Pan is asked to call New Haven police at 203-946-6304.
2. Police Had Questioned Pan Before He Disappeared
New Haven Independent reported that police actually had questioned Pan shortly after Jiang’s death, but then he was let go.
Jiang, 26, was found dead around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night after multiple 911 calls reported that shots were fired. He was found in the street near his Toyota Prius, which had damage to the rear of the car, the New Haven Independent reported.
— CTLaSalle Blanks (@CTLaSalleBlanks) February 7, 2021
Jiang was shot multiple times and authorities are investigating whether the shooting happened after a collision with his car, NBC Connecticut reported. Neighbors said they heard multiple shots fired.
One neighbor told New Haven Register that she heard two shots fired, then a pause, followed by five or more shots.
She said: “We were scared to go near the window. When we finally looked outside, there was someone lying in the middle of Lawrence Street.”
Police said that Pan was in the vicinity of the shooting at the time, and police were called to the train tracks behind the Best Western because Pan was in the area acting oddly, New Haven Independent reported. Police questioned him and then left him at the hotel. They said he later fled.
3. Pan Was Last Seen at a Best Western in North Haven, But May Now Be Out of State
Pan was last seen in North Haven at a Best Western hotel where police had questioned him. He was last known to be living in Malden, Massachusetts, NBC Connecticut reported.
He could now be out of the state, New Haven Police Chief Otoniel Reyes said during a press conference, New Haven Independent reported. However, Reyes was clear that they are not ready to identify him as the shooter, so he has not been named a suspect.
FBI, Yale Police representatives, and representatives from the State’s Attorney’s Office were also at the press conference.
4. He Works at MIT in Artificial Intelligence & Computer Science
According to Pan’s Facebook page, he studied computer science at MIT and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His Facebook page notes that he currently works at CSAIL-MIT (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) and is originally from Shanghai, China. At one point, according to his profile, he lived in Maryland.
In 2013, he changed his profile photo to one honoring the MIT police.
The rest of the public posts on his Facebook consist mostly of travel pictures and pictures with friends. At one point he apologized for tagging friends in photos, writing: “feel free to untag if you are not actually in the photo and prefer not to be tagged. Excuse me for the liberty I took.”
New Haven Independent reported that Pan is a Ph.d. student and researcher at MIT, and that he co-owns a house in Malden. The Independent reported that he worked on a research project called Omniscope.
5. Jiang Had Gotten Engaged About a Week Before He Was Killed
Jiang had just proposed to his girlfriend on January 30 and she had said yes about a week before he was shot and killed, according to his Facebook page. They had been dating for about a year. Jiang’s fiancee was an undergraduate student at MIT, where Pan worked, but police have made no indication that they knew each other.
Jiang lived with his mother in West Haven, New Haven Independent reported. His mother had moved to Connecticut to live with her son while he was in graduate school. They both volunteered at their church.
After his engagement, Jiang shared an excited post on his Facebook page, writing: “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. I want to care for you and serve you, and build God’s kingdom with you. Thank you for such a wonderful happy one-year anniversary of meeting, and now fiancé!!!!!!!!”
His fiancee wrote: “Praise the Lord for this very special day where I got ENGAGED to my best friend!! Thank you Kevin for being my iron and sharpening me to be more righteous, pure, and holy! Though we stand as two broken people, what a beautiful setting of snow to remind us of God’s salvation and the sanctifying gift of marriage.”
Jiang had studied environmental sciences at North Seattle College and ecology and biology at the University of Washington, his Facebook profile said. His LinkedIn noted that he served in the Army National Guard as an environmental scientist and engineer. He was previously in the Army as a tank operator, and had served in the Army beginning in 2012.
Jiang was going to finish graduate school at Yale in 2021.