Shanghai police announced Friday afternoon they had submitted a request to a local procuratorate for approval to arrest a suspect in the Fudan University poisoning case for intentional homicide.
The suspect, surnamed Lin, a graduate student from the medical school at Fudan University, held a grudge against his roommate Huang Yang over "trivial daily matters" and plotted the poisoning, according to the initial police investigation.
Lin took the toxic chemical compound he used in an experiment at a university lab to the dormitory and placed it in the water dispenser on March 31, said the police statement.
Huang was hospitalized after drinking the water on April 1 and died Tuesday.
A detailed autopsy report is not available yet and police did not confirm whether the toxic chemical compound was N-Nitrosodimethylamine, as was earlier reported by the media.
Fang Ming, spokesperson of Fudan University, told the Global Times Friday that the school has no further details about the investigation as it had not been informed beforehand.
Web users were questioning the university's responsibility in managing hazardous chemicals, but Fang said that the school conducted a thorough check on its labs and found no irregularities.
According to the university's regulations, storage and usage of toxic chemicals follow a strict protocol and every single usage of such chemicals should be recorded.
Fang said that the university had noticed that Lin used the compound in the lab, but still needs to verify the source of the compound that led to Huang's death. "We're so sad to lose two brilliant students, but the university won't avoid its responsibility."
The university is offering psychological counseling to students who need it. Students launched a two-day donation campaign on Thursday, and the high school classmates of Huang from his hometown Rongxian, Sichuan Province had also raised 42,400 yuan ($6,857) as of Friday.
"The motive described by the police is not convincing and we hope to see further details; we also hope the school can really shoulder its responsibility as Huang's parents are so kind and aren't blaming the school at all," Zhou Xu, Huang's high school classmate, told the Global Times Friday via the phone.
"I just want justice for my son," said Huang Guoqiang, the victim's father.
Liu Chunlei, a Shanghai-based lawyer, has offered free legal services to Huang's family.
"We're still collecting evidence and preparing materials to decide our next move and we'll work hard to make a solid case out of the complex situation," Liu told the Global Times.
Lin's family was also requesting a thorough probe to avoid wrongful judgment.
The police statement quickly became a hot topic, with thousands of comments questioning the vague description of the motive and Lin's modus operandi, demanding further disclosure.
Amid a wave of criticism that the country's education system does not encourage the cultivation of healthy personalities and respect for life, legal professionals have reminded the public not to make premature judgments.
"Presumption of innocence is always a principle before the final verdict, and it's inappropriate to speculate on details of the crime and expose too much personal information about the suspect," Yuan Yiwen, a lawyer, wrote in the Beijing News.