Slain Virginia Tech Student Was Decapitated - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Slain Virginia Tech Student Was Decapitated

Grad student killed in dorm cafeteria



    Slain Virginia Tech Student Was Decapitated
    WSLS Photographer Jarrett Henshaw
    A female graduate student was stabbed to death Wednesday night on the campus of Virginia Tech University.

    A female student was decapitated Wednesday night on Virginia Tech's campus, triggering a crisis alert system that was revamped after a deadly mass shooting there in 2007.

    Police on Thursday identified the victim as Xin Yang, 22, who had arrived on the Blacksburg campus from Beijing on Jan. 8 to begin her studies in accounting.

    Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said at a news conference that the victim and her accused attacker, Haiyang Zhu, 25, knew each other but there is no motive for the slaying.

    Students were warned in an electronic alert Wednesday night to stay in place while police investigated the killing.

    Zhu was taken into custody around 7:10 p.m., according to a university news release.  He was charged with first-degree murder and was being held without bond.

    Campus police responding to an emergency call found Zhu and a knife they believe was used at the crime scene, a cafe in the Graduate Life Center.

    Both the victim and the suspect are graduate students at Virginia Tech. 

    University spokesman Larry Hincker said the alert messages were sent out around 7:30 p.m., and it took about 15 minutes for all 40,000 messages to be sent.

    Virginia Tech added text messages and other ways of warning students of possible danger to its system of e-mail alerts after gunman Seung-Hui Cho took 32 lives before turning the gun on himself in an April 2007 rampage.

    The revamped alert system was first used last November when an exploded cartridge from a nail gun produced sounds similar to gunfire near a dormitory.

    Wednesday's murder brought back bad memories for some people on campus.

    "I was here for the April 16th shootings, and I think this has affected me more because of that," said graduate student Jessica St. Clair. "It's just like, not again, it's already happened here. And [I] just can't really believe its happened again."