Light & Verity

Med school mourns postdoctoral fellow

Courtesy Austin Regional Clinic

Courtesy Austin Regional Clinic

Vajinder Toor was shot to death in April outside his home. View full image

Police say a grievance from a previous workplace was the motive behind the murder of a Yale postdoctoral fellow outside his home in Branford, Connecticut, on April 26. Vajinder Toor, 34, was shot to death as he left his condominium for work. The assailant also fired shots at Toor’s wife, Parneeta Sidhu, who was pregnant at the time, but she was not wounded.

That same morning, police in Branford arrested Lishan Wang, 44, based on neighbors’ descriptions of the shooter and his vehicle. They say Wang had in his possession guns and ammunition, directions to Toor’s house, and a photograph of him. Wang was charged with murder, attempted murder, and firearms offenses. Police say Wang, a Chinese citizen who was most recently living in Marietta, Georgia, acknowledged being at Toor’s house that morning and said he was “very sorry about what happened at the condo.” He has not yet entered a plea.

The police report says Wang believed Toor had been responsible for Wang’s firing from a residency at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn in 2008, when Toor was chief resident there. Wang sued the hospital for discrimination in a case that is still pending.

Toor, a native of India, was a first-year postdoctoral fellow in infectious disease at the School of Medicine. Besides his wife and unborn child, he is survived by a three-year-old son. In a written statement, his colleagues remembered him as “a dedicated clinician who meticulously evaluated every piece of data in order to provide the best patient care.”

The incident was another blow to a medical school community whose academic year began with a murder. In September, graduate student Annie Le ’13PhD was found dead in the lab building where she worked, and Yale animal technician Raymond Clark III was charged with the crime. (See “The Death of Annie Le,” November/December 2009.)

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