Written by By Sandy Huffaker, CNN
A student who was stabbed to death in Columbia University’s gated Hamilton Heights neighborhood on Monday was a member of a local gang, a family friend told CNN on Tuesday.
The student, identified as 30-year-old Mieka H., was found by a passerby with a stab wound to the chest, police said. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The student’s brother, who is not a member of the gang, said she was a former gang member who had left the gang a few years ago, according to the friend, who spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity.
The man was unrelated to the unnamed gang member accused of stabbing the student, he said.
The city’s Law Department declined to release any additional information about the alleged gang member because of the ongoing investigation.
Police are investigating the case as a possible gang-related homicide, the New York Police Department said in a statement.
No arrests have been made.
New York City Police say they are seeking a man described as an African-American or Hispanic male, about 20 years old and 5 feet 8 inches tall. The man has a mustache, brown eyes and is about 140 pounds.
Police said the attacker ran eastbound on 288th Street and may have fled in a silver Mazda sedan.
“The idea that someone who is so young and who had her whole life ahead of her, has suddenly lost it because of some random act of violence, is completely heartbreaking,” Keshav Girish, Columbia’s dean of students, said in a statement.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was grateful for the outpouring of support from the community.
“We stand with the University and the student’s family and friends,” he said in a statement.
Columbia University is the sixth-most attended private university in the country, according to data from U.S. News & World Report, with 14,022 students living in six buildings and 415 faculty members.
CNN’s Emanuella Grinberg contributed to this report.