updated 4/7/2008 3:10:33 PM ET 2008-04-07T19:10:33

A 14-year-old boy was charged with manslaughter in the death of a Columbia University graduate student who was punched and chased into traffic, hit by a car and killed, police said Sunday.

The student, Minghui Yu, 24, was walking a few blocks north of the university's main campus at about 9 p.m. Friday when several teenagers approached him, police said.

Police were studying surveillance video near the area, including at least one excerpt that showed Yu struggling with one of the youths, police said.

Yu fled the assailant and ran into incoming traffic, police said. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The driver of the car was not charged.

The 14-year-old, whose name was not released because he is a minor, was arrested Saturday on the second-degree manslaughter charge, police said. He was accused of punching Yu.

Yu, a Ph.D. candidate in statistics and a teaching fellow in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, was a native of China.

"He's a really nice guy, and he's worried about others," said Chao Sun, 24, who said she had been dating Yu for several months. "I can't imagine he would do anything to harm other people."

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger informed students and the faculty of Yu's death.

"As a community we mourn the loss of one of our members, and especially of a young person with much to look forward to in a life of promise," Bollinger wrote.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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