WORLD / CROSS-BORDERS
Update: Chinese PhD student shot dead in Chicago
Published: Jan 11, 2021 05:42 PM

The Barclay condominium in Chicago, where two women were shot in the rampage on Saturday. Photo: IC

A Chinese student was shot dead in a series of shootings that spanned across Chicago in the US on Saturday local time.

A total of three were killed in the shootings, in addition to four wounded, CBS Chicago reported. The motive of the shootings is still unclear.

The student, Fan Yiran, was a 30-year-old PhD student in a joint program of the Booth School of Business and the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics of the University of Chicago, the university confirmed in a notice released on its website on Sunday.

The university said that Fan was in the fourth year of the Joint Program in Financial Economics, and was hoping to propose his dissertation later this year. Fan's family in China has already been notified, and the university representatives are in contact with them, it said.

Zhang Ruishi, president of the Chinese Students And Scholars Association at the University of Chicago (UC-CSSA), told the Global Times on Tuesday that UC-CSSA is assisting Fan's tutor and the university to organize a memorial service.

The Chinese Consulate General in Chicago on Tuesday strongly condemned the killings on social media, calling it a brutal crime against innocent people. It said it will continue to work with relevant Chicago authorities and the University of Chicago to offer all necessary assistance to the student’s family.

It also reminded Chinese citizens in its jurisdiction to pay close attention to the COVID-19 and public security situations in their place of residence.

A staff member at the Consulate-General of China in Chicago confirmed Fan's death with the Global Times on Monday.

"We extend our deepest sympathies to Fan Yiran's family and friends," Robert W. Forden, Chargé d'Affaires of the US Embassy in China, said in a notice that the Embassy released on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Monday.

"Fan Yiran was killed in an unconscionable violence in Chicago over the weekend that left two other people dead and several others injured," the Embassy said.

Fan was shot and killed in his car in the parking garage at an apartment building at about 1:50 pm Saturday. After shooting and killing Fan, the suspect, identified as 32-year-old Jason Nightengal by police, went on to shoot others across the city, reports said. 

Nightengal was killed later on Saturday by police in Evanston, north of Chicago, CBS Chicago reported.  

The Beijing News reported on Monday that Fan was an undergraduate in the Guanghua School of Management, Peking University. 

Lin Mu, president of the Peking University Alumni Chicago, told the Beijing Times that the alumni and relevant parties, including the office of the president of the University of Chicago, the international student office and Booth School of Business are all helping to enable Fan's parents to go to the US as soon as possible. 

The US has seen a disturbing increase in gun violence and mass shootings across the country in recent years, statistics from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) show. The number of deaths caused by gun violence has jumped from 12,418 in 2014 to 15,208 in 2019.  

Mass shootings, defined by the GVA as an event where a minimum of four victims are shot, excluding the shooter, has increased from 269 to 417, GVA statistics show. The situation in 2020 became far worse, with 578 mass shootings as of November 26, according to a report by non-profit organization The Conversation.

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