Man charged with murder of University of Chicago graduate killed in Hyde Park shooting

Alton Spann, 18, allegedly pawned his victim's stolen electronics for just $100

ByEric Horng and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Saturday, November 13, 2021
Man charged with murder for fatal shooting of UChicago graduate
After allegedly committing armed robbery and murder, police said 18-year-old Alton Spann pawned his Dennis Zheng's stolen electronics for just $100.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A man is charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a recent University of Chicago graduate in Hyde Park Tuesday.

Shaoxiong Zheng, who went by Dennis according to his friends, was near the U of C campus in the 900-block of East 54th Place Tuesday afternoon when a man got out of a car, pulled a gun, and demanded the 24-year-old's property.

The man then opened fire, shooting the victim in the chest, police said. Then the shooter got back in the car and fled west on 54th Place.

WATCH: Police announce charges in Zheng murder

CPD Supt. David Brown and others announce murder charges in the fatal shooting of University of Chicago graduate Shaoxiong Zheng in Hyde Park Tuesday.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown announced Friday that Alton Spann, 18, has been charged with first degree murder, armed robbery and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon in Zheng's death.

After allegedly committing armed robbery and murder, police said Spann pawned his victim's stolen electronics for just $100.

"Just let that sink in: $100 for Mr. Zheng's and his family's grief," Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said.

After 24-year-old Dennis Zheng was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon on a Hyde Park sidewalk, police said various cameras near the crime scene as well as license plate reader technology helped them identify the alleged getaway vehicle, a stolen Ford Mustang, and the 18-year-old Spann as the driver.

"We had numerous videos of him going into the vehicle, and he was the driver of the vehicle from, we had video we recovered from right just down the block from the homicide," Chicago Police Lt. James McGovern said.

When Spann was arrested the day after the shooting, police said he was carrying the key fob from the Mustang, as well as two firearms - one of which has been linked to Zheng's shooting. Spann's clothing was also collected as evidence.

"Based on the videos collected, Mr. Spann was wearing the same clothing from the same time of the murder at the same time he was arrested," Chicago Police Dep. Chief Rahman Muhammad said.

As for Zheng's electronics that were pawned for $100, police said they were recovered from a store that Spann was seen on video entering not long after the shooting.

"Video was a key evidence to solving this case," McGovern said.

Spann is the only person charged in this case, but police say they continue to investigate whether others might have been involved.

"He had just gotten his driver's license; he was in a new relationship. He had the whole world in front of him, and this happened," said Nick Jackson, friend.

Jackson lived in the same apartment building as his friend near campus, and said residents there have grown close.

"We're a community here of individuals. We have no uncles or cousins. We were each other's support," he said.

The investigation remains ongoing and Chicago police are asking anyone with further information to reach out. Anonymous tips are welcome.