SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Two men have been accused of killing a Syracuse University student from China during a drug deal robbery in upstate New York, authorities said Friday.
Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway said Cameron Isaac, 23, and Ninimbe Mitchell, 20, are charged with second-degree murder, robbery and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the shooting of Yuan Xiaopeng (YOO’-en SHE’-ow-puhng).
During a news conference, Conway said the three men agreed to meet for a drug deal behind at an apartment complex in suburban DeWitt on Sept. 30. He would not say who initiated the meeting, what drugs were involved or whether the robbery was planned.
“This was a drug transaction that went bad,” Conway said. “There were drugs left in the victim’s car.”
District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said the main charge could be upgraded to first-degree murder if it’s determined Isaac and Mitchell intended to kill Yuan as part of the robbery. He said the murder weapon hasn’t been recovered.
Yuan, 23, was a junior studying mathematics when he was found shot to death. He was from Qingdao (cheeng-DOW’) on China’s east coast and had been in Syracuse since 2011.
Authorities said Isaac and Mitchell were arrested Thursday by investigators who raided and searched their homes in Syracuse and North Syracuse. Both men are being held without bail. The names of their lawyers weren’t immediately available from authorities.
Fitzpatrick said Yuan’s family, some of whom came to Syracuse to meet with authorities earlier in the fall, have been told about the arrests.