BLACKSBURG, Va. - A graduate student from China was decapitated with a kitchenknife in a campus cafe at Virginia Tech by another graduate studentwho knew her, police said Thursday.
Xin Yang, 22, was killed Wednesday night after arriving at thecampus from Beijing on Jan. 8 to begin studying accounting,Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said.
Her accused attacker, 25-year-old Haiyang Zhu of Ningbo, China,knew the victim but no motive for the slaying has been determined,Flinchum said. School records showed that Haiyang was listed as oneof Xin's emergency contacts.
Haiyang was charged with first-degree murder and was being heldwithout bond at the Montgomery County Jail. It was not immediatelyknown if he had an attorney.
Earlier Thursday, Virginia Tech President Charles W. Stegerwrote a letter to the campus community regarding Wednesday night'sdeadly stabbing of a student on campus.
Here is his letter to faculty, staff and students:
To the campus community: Our university community was shocked by a brutal murder Wednesday night at the Graduate Life Center.
The suspect is in custody and the nature of the incident points to an isolated, very personal tragedy. Our hearts go out to the victim and her family. An act of violence like this one brings back memories of the April 16 tragedy and I have no doubt that many of us feel especially distraught.
Once again we are challenged as a community to offer support to one another as we process this recent event. Once again we will rise to the occasion.
We encourage students to take full advantage of counseling services at the Cook Counseling Center (231-6557) and we are providing onsite counseling to faculty, staff, and students at the Graduate Life Center in Room B. The Dean of Students Office can also provide assistance to students (231-3787).
The campus will remain open and classes will be held on the regular schedule. We will keep you informed about services or other memorials after we have a chance to learn of the family s plans and wishes. At times like this we are reminded how important friends and family are during a tragedy. We will continue to do everything we can to support the Virginia Tech family.
President Charles W. Steger
Governor Tim Kaine also released a statement Thursday on thecampus murder at Virginia Tech:
My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of Xin Yang today—and with the broader Virginia Tech community. The tragic attack on campus this week has no doubt revived terrible memories for countless members of the Hokie family.
I urge the citizens of the Commonwealth to join me in sending sympathies and support to Virginia Tech in the days and weeks to come.
Haiyang and Xin had been having coffee in a cafe in the GraduateLife Center, where Xin was living. About seven other people whowere in the coffee shop told police that the two hadn't beenarguing before the attack.
Police received two 911 calls shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday,Flinchum said, and were on the scene in a little more than a minuteto take Haiyang into custody.
Flinchum said Haiyang was not known to the campus police or tothe university team that deals with mentally disturbedstudents.
University officials said Haiyang arrived on campus last falland was a Ph.D. student in agricultural and applied economics.
The stabbing was the first killing on campus since a masskilling on campus in 2007, when a student gunman shot 32 people andthen 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 thatmany of us feel especially distraught."
University spokesman Larry Hincker said a campus alert systemput in place after the mass shootings by Seung-Hui Cho in 2007 sentout messages to 30,000 subscribers by e-mail, text messages andtelephone voice mails Wednesday night.
Because a suspect was in custody, the messages were sent out asnotifications rather than as emergency alerts, he said.
Compiled from report by Sue Lindsey, Associated Press Writer
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