Truman College freshman killed in gunfire

May 23, 2008 3:52:50 PM PDT
A college student was shot and killed near his school campus in Chicago's Uptown community. Police say 22-year-old Francis Oduro, a freshman at Truman College, was an innocent victim of gun violence.

Oduro is described by his family and Truman College administrators as a dedicated student who valued education.

The student wanted to transfer to the University of Illinois Chicago and earn a civil engineering degree, but his plans after college included moving away from Chicago to avoid increasing violence.

"I found Chicago much more comfortable and safer. So, I decided to stay," said the victim's father, also named Francis Oduro.

The father came to Chicago from his native country of Ghana in 1988. Over the course of 20 years, more than a dozen relatives joined him, including his son.

'I wanted him to stay in Ghana, but at the same time, I wanted him to pursue his studies," said the father.

The college student arrived in Chicago in December 2006 and quickly enrolled at Truman College and studied pre-engineering. However, the 22-year old also learned another lesson, that violence was a growing problem in his community.

"He pities young guys who do gangbanging, and he wanted to help these kids," Oduro said about his son.

Police say it was gang violence that claimed the student's life Wednesday night. Oduro was leaving Truman College, which is currently on a break, after checking on what classes were available for the summer session. He was walking on Broadway, getting ready to head back to his Far South Side home when, police say, one man opened fire at another man. That victim was injured by bullets, and Oduro, believed to be an innocent bystander, was killed.

Members of Truman College visited Oduro's family Thursday night to offer their support.

"I would say that Francis, I learned, is very dedicated, very active in the college. He carried a full load and was part of our soccer team," said Truman College Interim President Lynn Walker.

The victim's father, who also has a 7-month-old son, is considering moving back to Ghana and wants to bury his slain son there. However, he says he has no ill will for the person who took his son's life.

"If I saw them, I would pray for them," he said.

Friday, Chicago police said they are investigating the shooting, although no one was in custody.

Truman College has a diverse student body with nearly 150 countries represented. The school will provide grief counselors for anyone on campus in need of those services.


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