Hyde Park

18-Year-Old Arrested in Connection with Fatal Shooting of U of C Grad This Week, Police Say

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An 18-year-old man was arrested Friday in connection with the fatal shooting of University of Chicago recent graduate Shaoxiong Zheng in the city's Hyde Park neighborhood this week, according to authorities.

Alton Spann was placed into custody Friday afternoon and charged by the Cook County State's Attorney with first-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and armed robbery, Chicago police said.

According to police, Spann approached 24-year-old Zheng, announced the robbery, shot the University of Chicago graduate in the torso and took his personal belongings. Zheng was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Authorities said Spann was observed in surveillance video entering a Ford Mustang and heading westbound on 54th Place. The teen was then seen entering a store and selling the personal items for approximately $200.

Police have not made an arrest at thsi time in connection to the driver of the vehicle, officials noted.

The case is still under investigation and the public is asked to contact (833) 408-0069 with any additional information.

Rep. Bobby Rush came to the neighborhood after the shooting, saying that his heart was with the victim and that he is pushing in Congress for a stronger response to gun violence.

“We have to treat violence in Chicago the same way we are treating the pandemic of the coronavirus,” he said.

Rush’s opponent in the 2022 Democratic primary, community activist Jahmal Cole, was apparently shot at near the intersection of 53rd Street and Harper, less than a mile away from where the fatal shooting took place.

Cole, in an Instagram post, said he had to dive for cover, and suffered a wound to his neck during the incident.

“I dove underneath the car. I ran for my life, like everybody on the street,” he said.

No one was hit in the shooting, but multiple vehicles were damaged and two businesses were hit, according to Chicago police. Cole does not believe he was targeted in the shooting, which remains under investigation.

Early Thursday morning, a University of Chicago employee was robbed on campus the school said in a security alert, marking the third violent incident to shake the campus this week.

The contract employee for the university was walking around 5:30 a.m. on a sidewalk at 1313 E. 60th Street when authorities say two people exited a small black SUV and one displayed a handgun.

The pair demanded the employee's property and the employee handed them a cell phone before they went back to their vehicle and drove away.

The employee was not hurt in the incident and university police are investigating, the alert stated.

"Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times," the alert read. "Do not resist an armed robbery unless absolutely necessary. Avoid using cell phones or other electronic devices while on the street. When walking, try to walk with a group or have a friend walk with you. There is safety in numbers."

The robbery comes just after the University of Chicago's president and provost sent a letter to students pledging increased safety measures after a recent graduate of the school was gunned down just off campus.

"This is a deeply painful day for our community and our city," the letter from President Paul Alivisatos and Provost Ka Yee C. Lee read Tuesday.

The university's leadership said they have been in contact with the Chicago Police Department as well as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other city leaders, whom they had safety discussions with Wednesday.

"The city is formalizing, with the university’s involvement, a number of short and longer-term public safety strategies specifically for the Hyde Park and surrounding communities," the letter read. "More will be communicated soon."

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