A professor at the University of Southern Carolina was fatally stabbed on Friday by one of the students that he mentored after an alleged “personal dispute” grew tragically violent.
University officials confirmed that Bosco Tjan, co-director of USC’s Dornsife Cognitive Neuroimaging Center and an expert on vision loss, was stabbed by 28-year-old David Jonathan Brown, a brain and cognitive science student, the Associated Press reported.
Brown was held on $1 million bail as of Saturday. He was one of five students who worked in Tjan’s lab studying vision loss. According to police, Brown was arrested without incident almost immediately after the slaying.
Nathaniel Kwok, who recently finished an 18-month stint that had him work alongside Brown, graduate students spend anywhere between 40 to 60 hours per week in the lab developing their own projects.
Kwok claimed that Brown had been working in the lab since 2013 and had taken a personal leave of absence last year for reasons yet unknown.
“He seemed normal for the most part. He was a little on the reserved side, but he was nice. He was friendly,” Kwok said. “There was nothing that ever would have given me some kind of indicator that he would be harboring any kind of sentiment like this.”
Tjan, who was married with one child, has been remembered by students and colleagues as a humorous and friendly person that got along with everyone. He joined USC’s faculty in 2001 and taught in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.