Chinese college student found slain
A Syracuse University student from China was found dead on Sept 30, the victim of an apparent homicide, in DeWitt, New York, according to authorities.
The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim as Yuan Xiaopeng, 23, after discovering his body behind the Springfield Garden Apartments on Caton Drive, near Lemoyne College, on the afternoon of Sept 30. DeWitt is about five miles from Syracuse.
Detectives are looking for a possible motive in the killing. DeWitt police responded to 911 calls from residents in the apartment complex who reported hearing gunshots, student website dailyorange.com reported.
Police searched the scene near a wooded area. State troopers also arrived with K-9 dogs and entered several buildings, the website said.
Yuan was a junior studying mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences.
His Facebook page says he is from Qingdao, Shandong province, but the sheriff’s office and university said he is from Beijing.
A black Chevrolet Camaro believed to be Yuan’s car with custom license plates that read “SWAG PIP” was found in a parking lot near where his body was found, syracuse.com reported. Yuan’s Facebook page has a picture of him sitting on a car fitting that description.
Yuan’s last Weibo post, on Sept 29, is a group photo of him and his basketball team. More than 150 people had commented on the social media site by 8 pm Monday with “R.I.P” and a candlelight emoji underneath.
Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz, senior vice-president and dean of student affairs at Syracuse, said in an email to the university community on Saturday night that the school is trying to assist the investigation and to comfort Yuan’s family.
“I join Chancellor Syverud, and the entire community during this painful time, in extending our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and all who knew him,” Kantrowitz said. “Our thoughts are with all of those grieving his loss.”
“I don’t know Yuan in person, but it’s so sad when someone just passes away in your neighborhood. And it’s not just him. Since I came here, there have been several deaths among Chinese students on campus,” said Kate, a Chinese student who has been in Syracuse for two years and declined to give her full name.
The last death of Chinese students in Syracuse occurred in a car crash in DeWitt on Oct 22, 2015, that killed two and injured one.
The Chinese Consulate General in New York contacted local police and the university immediately. The consulate also sent out a notice on Monday aimed at increasing safety awareness.
“We have got in contact with the victim’s family, and we will follow up closely on the investigation,” the notice says.
The university’s Slutzker Center for International Services, in an email on Sunday, said that the center and the Chinese Students and Scholars Association are preparing for Yuan’s parents to arrive in the US.