"A former faculty member at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine who had been fired shot the school’s dean outside a popular deli in Chappaqua, N.Y., on Monday, apparently in an act of revenge, the authorities said.
The former employee, Hengjun Chao, 49, of Tuckahoe, N.Y., was charged with attempted second-degree murder after he allegedly fired a shotgun and hit two men around 7 a.m. outside the deli, Lange’s Little Store, about a mile from the home of Bill and Hillary Clinton in the New York City suburb.
Both men were taken to Westchester Medical Center and treated for injuries that were not life-threatening, the police said.
Mount Sinai officials confirmed that the dean, Dr. Dennis S. Charney, 65, of Chappaqua, was one of the victims. The name of the other victim was not released.
Charles Ferry, the chief of the Police Department for New Castle, the town that includes Chappaqua, said Mr. Chao had used a shotgun with buckshot for ammunition, and had fired only one or two shots as the men left the deli. He was taken into custody without incident, having already put the shotgun back into his car, Chief Ferry said, and was cooperating with investigators.
Asked whether the shooting was an act of revenge, Chief Ferry said, “It would seem to be.”
“I think he came up here intent on shooting someone [i.e., premeditation],” he said of Mr. Chao. Mr. Chao, who was ordered held without bail, was born in China and got his medical degree from Peking Union Medical College. In 1997, he immigrated to the United States, where he initially served as a postdoctoral fellow in the gene therapy center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In October 2002, Mr. Chao joined Mount Sinai as a research assistant professor. He stayed at Mount Sinai until May 2009, when he received a letter of termination from Dr. Charney for “research misconduct,” according to a lawsuit that Mr. Chao filed against the hospital and Dr. Charney, among other parties, in 2010. He went through an appeals process, and was officially terminated in March 2010.
“In informing his colleagues of his termination, Mount Sinai/MSSM stated that Dr. Chao had been ‘fired for data fraud,’” the lawsuit said. The case was dismissed, and Mr. Chao lost on appeal.