Man Charged in Fatal Shooting of Northwestern Grad Student

A man has been charged with the fatal shooting of an incoming graduate student, who was killed last September hours after arriving in the city to start a Ph.D program at Northwestern University, Chicago police said Wednesday.

Diante Speed, of the 6000 block of West Sunnyside Avenue, was charged with one felony count of first-degree murder, police said in a statement. He was ordered held without bond in court Wednesday. 

Authorities said Speed, 20, was arrested in the 2400 block of West Belmont Street at around 12 p.m. Tuesday after he was identified as the gunman in the fatal shooting last fall in the city's Rogers Park neighborhood. Prosecutors said Speed was arrested after allegedly asking someone to sell the weapon he used in the shooting. 

"That person did not want to be attached to that body that's attached to that gun," community activist Andrew Holmes said of the suspect. 

The shooting took place at around 8:25 p.m. on Sept. 2 in the 7500 block of North Clark Street, according to Chicago police.

Authorities at the time said a 25-year-old man was walking down the street when he was shot in the abdomen, caught in the crossfire of two men shooting at each other. He was taken to Presence Saint Francis Hospital where he was pronounced dead, officials said.

Family members identified the victim as Shane Colombo, saying the doctoral student had only been in Chicago for a few hours when he was shot.

Prosecutors said Colombo was walking with groceries toward a bus stop where the shooting happened. 

Colombo had just moved from New York where he had been working as a researcher at Columbia University, his family said, to Chicago where he was supposed to join Northwestern's Ph.D. program.

“Our hearts and minds are with Shane’s loved ones during this difficult time,” Teresa K. Woodruff, dean of The Graduate School, and Adrian Randolph, dean of Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern, wrote in a statement at the time of the shooting. “We extend our deepest condolences to Shane’s partner, Vincent, and all of his family members and friends.”

His family said Colombo survived cancer as a teen and that he and his partner had gotten engaged the previous December.

"Shane, I know you’re gone, I can still feel you," fiance Vincent Perez said, adding, "and I love you with all my being."

Holmes, speaking on behalf of the victim's mother, said that even the arrest of the gunman allegedly responsible for his death hasn't soothed the pain of losing her son. 

"She's totally upset. She hasn't been normal since this happened to her child," he said. "She's not happy at all even though someone is in custody." 

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