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Kevin Jiang, Yale Grad Student From Chicago, Shot To Death Near Campus In New Haven, Conn.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS Chicago/CBSNewYork) -- A Yale grad student from Chicago was shot and killed just blocks from the university in New Haven, Connecticut, and police were still searching for his killer Monday.

As CBS 2's Jeremy Ross reported, one of the theories at which police were looking Monday was whether the student, Kevin Jiang, was killed in a road rage shooting. He was from Chicago, and helped businesses comply with environmental regulations before he went to grad school at Yale.

"The Yale community is grieving right now this is a loss of an extraordinary young man," said Yale University President Peter Salove. "He was committed to applying his talents to improving the world."

Jiang, 26, proudly showcased his roots on social media – with pictures in Chinatown and the city's most well-known spots.

But he had felt a calling to Yale's School of the Environment, where the second-year master's student was conducting research on mercury levels in fish.

But all that changed around 8:30 p.m. local time Saturday, in New Haven't East Rock neighborhood off the Ivy League school's campus, when multiple gunshots rang out.

"I heard, like, around seven rapid gunshots. I turned the lights off because I was scared," one man told Tony Aiello of WCBS-TV, CBS 2 New York off camera.

Jiang was found near his car. The vehicle had rear-end damage.

Among the scenarios into which police are looking is if road rage triggered the gun violence.

"We have developed information suggesting that this incident may not have been an actual random act," said New Haven police Chief Tony Reyes.

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Kevin Jiang
Kevin Jiang (Credit: Yale University)

Jiang had served in the Army National Guard. Friends said he was a devout Christian who was involved in multiple ministries at Trinity Baptist Church, which is less than a mile from where he was killed.

"He distributed food and cooked for a homeless shelter. He mentored youth," said Salovey. "He was committed to applying his talents to improving the world."

And it was late last month when the graduate student distributed news to friends and family of his greatest adventure yet – proposing to his fiancée.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) left a tribute to Jiang on Twitter.

"I don't have a memory of him where he wasn't smiling and happy. And even if you didn't agree with all his views, he was more than happy to be your best friend," said graduate student Rebecca Dube.

CBS 2 was unable to talk with Jiang's family, but a friend also reached out describing Jiang as a joy, a man who was brave and determined, and always someone that would encourage and celebrate you.

CBS 2 New York's Tony Aiello contributed to this report.

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