Shane Colombo was a lymphoma survivor who was planning to be a doctor, his mom told ABC News.
The 25-year-old had a full-ride scholarship to Northwestern University’s Ph.D. program in Chicago, where he was going to study psychology and biology starting this fall, his fiance, Vincent Perez, told the Chicago Tribune.
“He was so passionate about what he was doing,” his mom, Tonya Colombo, told ABC. “ ... He wanted to give people answers.”
But over this Labor Day weekend, Colombo was walking down the street of a Chicago neighborhood when he was “caught in the crossfire of two men shooting at each other,” NBC5 reported from police. In a statement released to ABC7, Northwestern University said Colombo was waiting at a bus stop.
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While in the crossfire at about 8:25 p.m. Sunday in Rogers Park neighborhood, Colombo was shot in his abdomen and taken to a hospital, police told ABC7. He was pronounced dead at 9:02 p.m.
The shooting took place only hours after the aspiring doctor had moved to Chicago.
“I was very concerned about him coming out here, and he was killed within four hours of being in the city, four hours of stepping off that plane,” Tonya Colombo told ABC.
Residents have said the city has a “deadly gun violence” problem that “desperately” needs fixed, Fox News reported.
“I put him on a plane that morning at 10 a.m. and I kissed him goodbye, and that was the last time I saw him alive,” Tonya Colombo told ABC.
During those few hours in the Windy City, Columbo told his fiance he was going out to buy clothes hangers and grab a drink at a local bar, according to a GoFundMe page raising money to bring Colombo back to his home state of California.
“We Skyped and I told him like, ‘You need to stay home. You need to rest. You just got in,’” Perez told ABC7.
But Colombo decided on going out to “put the finishing touches on his first day in the city,” the GoFundMe states. He had planned on taking the bus back home to his new condo that he’d be sharing with Perez.
Hours after Columbo told his plans to his fiance, though, Perez began to worry about where he was, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“A GPS app on Perez’s cellphone showed Colombo was at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston,” the Tribune reported. “Perez said he grew increasingly worried as he tried for close to an hour to find out whether his fiance had been admitted.”
An emergency room doctor finally gave him the news about the stray bullet that struck his fiance.
“The doctor told me that he had shortly passed not too long ago from gunshot wounds to his abdomen,” Perez told the newspaper.
Northwestern President Morton Schapiro said Colombo’s death was a “terrible loss for our community,” FOX10 reported.
“We condemn this awful and senseless act of violence and mourn the passing of Shane, a promising student who was to join our Psychology Ph.D. program this fall,” the statement said. “We offer our condolences and kindest thoughts to his family and friends and all who knew him.”
Colombo had earned his bachelor’s degree at San Francisco State University and had spent the last two years in New York City researching in the Neuroscience Lab at Columbia University, FOX10 reported.
“He would have made such a difference in this world,” his mother told NBC5.
Colombo was one of at least six people who were killed in Chicago shootings over the Labor Day weekend, Fox reported. At least 23 people were also injured. Prior to the weekend, ABC7 reported the police department was adding 1,400 officers to the streets with a “mission” to “keep people safe.”
The Tribune reported that 2,069 people had been shot in Chicago this year as of Sept. 4, which is 531 fewer people than the same time period of 2017.