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NU grad student was killed by stray bullet while carrying groceries, prosecutors say after man charged

Diante Speed, 20, is charged with first-degree murder and ordered held without bail in the shooting of Shane Colombo last year.

Provided photo of Shane Colombo, who was killed when he was caught in the crossfire of two people shooting at each other Sept. 2, 2018, in the 7500 block of North Clark Street.
Provided photo of Shane Colombo, who was killed when he was caught in the crossfire of two people shooting at each other Sept. 2, 2018, in the 7500 block of North Clark Street in Rogers Park.
Provided photo

Bail was denied Wednesday for a man accused of killing a Northwestern University student who was struck by stray bullets during a shooting last year in Rogers Park.

Diante Speed, 20, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Shane Colombo, who was struck by several stray bullets on Sept. 2 while he was walking in the 7500 block of North Clark Street.

About 8:25 p.m. that night, Speed was walking with a group when he noticed an “unknown male” also walking in the block and believed the male had a gun, Cook County prosecutors said at the hearing Wednesday.

While the male stood at a nearby bus shelter, Speed allegedly hid by a bank building and began firing toward the shelter, prosecutors said. Colombo was walking and carrying groceries when he was struck by several rounds and fell to the ground.

Speed allegedly continued to fire and chase his target after the male ran away. Prosecutors said there is no indication the male was holding a gun before the shooting, and surveillance video showed no gun in the male’s hand as he ran.

Speed, however, was recorded by surveillance cameras running after the male and holding a gun, prosecutors said. Multiple witnesses have identified him as the shooter.

Diante Speed
Diante Speed
Chicago police

Colombo was rushed to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston but pronounced dead soon after arriving.

A break in the case came when South Holland police recovered the 9-mm handgun used in the shooting during an arrest in the south suburb, prosecutors said. The man found in possession of the gun told authorities he bought it from Speed’s friend. The friend allegedly told investigators he got the gun from Speed.

Speed, of Jefferson Park, was taken into custody about noon Tuesday in the 2400 block of West Belmont Avenue, according to authorities. He has previous felony convictions for theft and resisting arrest.

While in custody, Speed allegedly admitted to giving the gun to his friend to sell and identified himself as the person seen holding the gun in surveillance video, but he denied firing it and said he “only raised his arm in a shooting motion,” prosecutors said.

Colombo, who was from Sun City, California, had moved to Evanston just before the shooting to begin a PhD program at Northwestern University, university officials said.

In the days after Colombo’s death, police released blurry security camera footage that showed three people in the area at the time of the shooting. A $12,000 reward for information leading to charges in the case was offered by the family, community activists and an anonymous donor last year.

Colombo’s mother, Tonya Colombo, spoke to the Sun-Times last year about how difficult coming to the city was for her after the shooting.

“It’s never easy coming here, it’s never a vacation, just even seeing [the city] is hard,” she said on her way to an event in January to announce an increase in the reward.

Tonya Colombo could not be immediately reached for comment on the charges and did not attend the hearing Wednesday.

Community activist Andrew Holmes, who worked with Tonya Colombo after the shooting, said “she has feeling for [Speed’s mother] because she knows she’ll [also] lose her son to the justice system.”

An assistant public defender representing Speed said he lives with his father, attended high school through his junior year and most recently worked at a Jewel-Osco grocery store.

Judge Susana Ortiz ordered Speed held without bail, and he was next scheduled to appear in court Aug. 27.