A graduate student from China named Xin Yang was decapitated with a kitchen knife in a campus cafe at Virginia Tech by another graduate student named Haiyang Zhu. Police said Zhu knew the victim. Read more on the Virginia Tech murder below.
Xin Yang, 22, was murdered on Wednesday night after arriving at the campus from Beijing on January 8 to study accounting, Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum stated.
Yang’s accused attacker, 25-year-old Haiyang Zhu of Ningbo, China, knew her but police have yet to discover the motive for the murder. Police said that Haiyang was listed as one of Xin Yang’s emergency contacts.
Haiyang has been charged with first-degree murder and being held without bond at the Montgomery County Jail.
Haiyang Zhu and Xin Yang reportedly were having coffee at a campus cafe where Xin was living. Others at the cafe said they had not noticed any arguing before the attack happened.
Police received two 911 calls and were on the scene very quickly to arrest Haiyang.
University officials said Haiyang began attending last fall and was a PhD student in agricultural and applied economics.
The stabbing was the first killing on campus since a mass killing on campus in 2007, when a student gunman shot 32 people and then took his own life.
“An act of violence like this brings back memories of April 16,” university President Charles Steger said. “I have no doubt that many of us feel especially distraught.”
Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine offered condolences to the campus.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of Xin Yang today – and with the broader Virginia Tech community,” he said in a statement.
“The tragic attack on campus this week has no doubt revived terrible memories for countless members of the Hokie family.”