18-year-old suspect Alton Spann has been charged with the murder of recent University of Chicago graduate Shaoxiong “Dennis” Zheng, who was gunned down one block from campus on Tuesday.
“The murder of Mr. Zheng has touched many members of the University of Chicago, the Hyde Park community, as well as all of Chicago. Though his friends and family will forever mourn his loss, we hope it brings to them some sense of peace knowing that this offender will face justice,” Chicago Police Supt. David Brown announced Friday. “Alton Spann, […] a black male, 18-years-old, is being charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon.”
Spann was apprehended and charged due to the joint efforts of the Chicago Police Department and the University of Chicago Police Department.
Zheng was heading home from a class Tuesday, when Spann approached him, announced the robbery at gunpoint, and shot Zheng once in the torso, Chicago Police Deputy Chief Rahman Muhammad said. According to Muhammad, Spann proceeded to steal Zheng’s personal electronics, among other belongings.
Afterwards, Spann reportedly entered a running black Ford Mustang, which fled westbound. The vehicle was identified as stolen on November 3 of this year.
Police said Spann sold Zheng’s belongings for approximately $100 at a cellphone store.
Area One detectives found the Ford Mustang, with Spann entering the vehicle, via University of Chicago cameras, POD cameras, and private cameras, Muhammad explained. The vehicle’s license plate also helped detectives locate the suspect.
Zheng was only 24-years-old at the time of the shooting. He graduated from UChicago this year with a master’s degree in statistics, only to have his young life ended in the epicenter of the Hyde Park community. He was the third UChicago affiliate to be gunned down and killed in the city this year.
“I think I arrived a few minutes too late to save him,” a doctor told the Chicago Tribune, when describing the murder scene. “It all happened pretty fast.”
About two hours prior to Zheng’s murder, shots were fired on Hyde Park’s main thoroughfare at 53rd St. and South Harper Avenue, near The Polsky Center and Harper Court. No injuries were reported.
That same day, UChicago was one of a handful of universities to receive a hoax bomb threat. And that night, the 53rd Street Dunkin’ Donuts was robbed at gunpoint.
All of these incidents occurred in main thoroughfares of the UChicago and broader Hyde Park community. Violent crimes surrounding UChicago’s campus have persisted since Tuesday, as is the norm.
Meanwhile, former President Barack Obama is focusing his efforts on the construction of a $500 million Presidential Center in his own honor, to be located on the South Side. And campus leftists advocate to defund and abolish the University of Chicago Police Department.
As Chicago crime continues to surge, CBS Chicago reports that new Chicago Police Department pod cameras will increase live monitoring in the Hyde Park area.