On Wednesday night, a Virginia Tech (维吉尼亚理工大学) graduate student from Beijing was decapitated in a cafe on the campus of the university. Yang Xin, 22-years-old, was starting her first semester as an accounting graduate student. She had only been on the campus for 13 days.
The accused is a fellow graduate student from China, a Ningbo native named Zhu Haiyang. He has been charged with first-degree murder and is currently under police custody.
Details about the the motive for the gruesome crime are scant at the moment. The fact that the victim and the suspect knew each other has been corroborated by preliminary eyewitness accounts that state that the two students were having dinner together at the cafe when the suspect suddenly pulling out a knife and decapitated the victim.
Police revealed that Yang had listed Zhu as her emergency contact with the school, suggesting some prior relationship. It could have also been because Zhu, a doctoral student in agricultural and applied economics, had been the first to assist her in adjusting to life at VTech – a normal tradition amongst the 500 or so Chinese students there.
But what led to the attack is still a mystery: The two had not been arguing and nobody could point to previous signs of trouble between them.
After Zhu’s arrest, the campus alert system, put in place after the shootings by Korean-American student Seung-Hui Cho in 2007, sent out safety notifications to about 30,000 subscribers in the area.