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23-year-old killed outside Cambridge courthouse remembered as star student at Northeastern

A Northeastern University student from China whose uncle has been charged in his death last week was remembered as an active campus member and a star student in a letter sent Monday to the university community.

Cong “Cowan” Wang, 23, was majoring in computer science and was set to graduate from Northeastern’s Khoury College of Computer Sciences in May 2024, Elizabeth Mynatt, dean of Khoury College, said in the letter.

“His academic excellence was evident right away when he made the Dean’s List in his first semester,” Mynatt wrote.

Wang was allegedly shot in the head and killed by his uncle, 44-year-old Chenghai Xue, outside Cambridge District Court on Thursday, the Globe reported. Prosecutors said his uncle struck Wang with an SUV and pinned him between two vehicles.


The two were in court before the incident. A had judge declined to extend a restraining order Xue had filed against Wang, who previously had a romantic relationship with Xue’s former wife, legal filings show.

Xue was arraigned Friday on charges of murder and armed assault to murder in Somerville District Court. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

Chenghai Xue was arraigned in Somerville District Court on Friday on charges of murder and armed assault to murder in the fatal shooting of his 23-year-old nephew outside of a Medford courthouse. WCVB

Wang was on co-op as a robotics system engineer, the Northeastern letter said, and held a passion for artificial intelligence and, in particular, computer vision.

He was active on Northeastern’s Boston campus as a member of the Taekwondo Club and the Robotics Club. He was also an undergraduate teaching assistant, the letter said.

“The Khoury community mourns this loss,” Mynatt wrote.

Grief counseling is available for students and staff on campus, the letter said.

Material from previous Globe reports was used in this article.

Breanne Kovatch can be reached at breanne.kovatch@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @breannekovatch.