As the Yale School of Medicine campus absorbed the news that a suspect in the killing of Annie Le GRD ’13 had been arrested early Thursday morning, researchers and students expressed cautious relief amid their continued shock and sadness.
Tensions remained high as researchers at 10 Amistad St., huddled in small groups outside the building’s laboratories and offices, discussed the times they had seen and interacted with Raymond Clark III, the animal lab technician charged with Le’s murder. Meanwhile, on Yale’s central campus, students said the fact that the killing was probably not a random act has allayed some of their fears, though many said they were disturbed by the possibility that a member of the Yale community had committed the crime.
One researcher who works at the 10 Amistad St. building who declined to give her name explained that between meetings with University officials, with grief counselors and within departments, she and her colleagues no longer have the energy or the will to discuss the case.
“I think we’ve all just talked about it so much,” she said, standing in the doorway of her laboratory.
Of the two dozen individuals contacted on the medical school campus Thursday, more than half declined to comment. In some cases, entire labs have decided collectively not to speak to the media about the situation, while in others it is a personal decision.
Ergin Beyret MED ’10 said he had seen Clark a couple of times in the basement of 10 Amistad St. and that Clark had seemed like a “nice person, a shy person.” Beyret added that it has been difficult getting back to work, given that the basement of the building — where Le’s body was found — is still not open for business as usual.
On Thursday, signs with red lettering posted in the Amistad elevators read: “Absolutely no access to basement/lower level until further notice,” and police guarded the building’s lobby.
Members of the media were still stationed around campus, though their presence had diminished. As one man left the Amistad facility and was rapidly approached by a camera man, he shouted expletives that could be heard across the street.
“You better write that down,” he instructed the camera man, referring to the obscenities. “’Cause that’s all you’re going to get.”
At Marigolds, the medical campus’s dining hall, students gathered for lunch expressed their feelings of loss and hopes for justice.
Bryan Yeh SPH ’11 said while he was glad a suspect had been arrested, Le’s murder has not affected his sense of safety at Yale. His friend Jeremy Blanchard SPH ’11 added that he was “just sad” about the whole situation.
But Camille Keeler, an associate research scientist at the medical school, said she has seen changes in the way colleagues in her lab were feeling since the morning’s arrest.
“There was still lingering concern that someone could still be out there,” she said, adding that Clark must be convicted before the situation can be resolved. Clark, who is being held on $3 million bond, is next set to appear in court Oct. 6.
On central campus, most students interviewed focused on the possible involvement of a Yale employee as they discussed the murder Thursday.
“It was troubling that someone that Yale hired would do this,” Stephanie Goldstein ’13 said a few hours after news broke of the arrest.
Questions about the case lingered on students’ minds. Alissa Wassung ’10 said that while she believes arresting a suspect will help the campus grapple with Le’s death, concerns will not be alleviated completely until a motive for the murder is established.
Nevertheless, those interviewed on Yale’s medical and central campuses agreed that Clark’s arrest has been a welcome step as authorities continue to investigate Le’s murder.
“I sincerely hope this arrest brings some closure to Annie’s family and the medical community,” said Michael Caplan, the C.N.H. Long professor of physiology, in his office one floor down from the lab where Le worked. “It was an outstandingly horrible event.”