Police probe killing of US med student in Curacao

AP News
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Posted: Jul 26, 2011 6:19 PM
Police probe killing of US med student in Curacao

A Dubai man has been charged with killing a medical school classmate from New Jersey and is being held under psychiatric observation on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao, authorities said Tuesday.

Prosecutor Guillano Schoop said Moustapha Khalesa stabbed 24-year-old Kan Mei Chan to death in a Caribbean Medical University dorm Friday as she rushed to help a professor who Khalesa had also stabbed.

Khalesa, 20, was arrested at the scene, and he is still being evaluated by psychiatrists, Schoop said.

Khalesa had locked himself out of his room that night and was waiting for help when he got into an argument with a teacher living in the dorm, said Radoslaw Lewkowski, a director at the university.

The two-story dorm, about 30 minutes away from campus, is home to dozens of students and teachers.

Lewkowski said the Jersey City woman was the first to enter the room after several students heard cries for help and rushed to the second floor. She was stabbed twice in the stomach, while the teacher underwent surgery and is expected to recover, he said. The teacher's name was not released.

Lewkowski said Khalesa, who originally from the Gulf emirate of Dubai, had transferred from a university in Egypt more than a month ago, citing political instability.

"We checked the credentials before he was admitted," Lewkowski said. "He was recommended by three doctors and the dean of the medical school ... We are really, really in shock. He did not have any kind of signs. He was not threatening anyone. He was kind of a shy guy."

Khalesa had sought to delay his admission for a couple of months so his twin brother could join him at the medical school, Lewkowski said.

Both Khalesa and Chan were expected to finish school on July 29 before taking final exams and then leave for the U.S. to do clinical rotations, he said.

Lewkowski said the university is offering counseling to students but will not consider new security measures.

"There is really not much we can do to prevent such a thing," he said. "Those things are sometimes unpredictable."

A woman who answered the phone at a restaurant owned by Chan's family in New Jersey hung up and refused to comment.

It is unclear when Khalesa will appear before a judge. In Curacao, a suspect can be detained up to four months without a court hearing, Schoop said.

Khalesa's court-appointed attorney, Marius Romer, said his client might be transferred to a mental institution pending a psychiatric evaluation. He said doctors have told him that Khalesa is not coherent and is in a state of shock.

"Somebody did something terrible," he said. "We have to take several measures on humanitarian grounds."