Shooter in Cisse case identified

By Mischa Fierer

Seventeen-year-old Demetrius Warren was charged with the November 19 murder of 29-year-old University graduate student Amadou Cisse, state prosecutors said in court last week.

Assistant State’s Attorney Jason Poje said that Warren shot Cisse, a chemistry student from Senegal, in the chest around 1:30 a.m. November 19 on the 6100 block of South Ellis Avenue, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Authorities had not previously identified the gunman. Police had initially said that Walker was the instigator of the attacks, but prosecutors had not previously charged Warren with murder.

Cisse’s fellow University students remember him as a shy but warm individual who liked to listen to Senegalese music on a tape player that he often carried with him. At the time of his death, he was three weeks away from receiving a Ph.D.

After the shooting, Warren allegedly told people that he shot Cisse, prosecutors said. Additionally, both a co-defendant and a witness tabbed Warren as the gunman, according to the Tribune.

Although Cisse’s property was not stolen, prosecutors allege that Warren shot Cisse with a .22-caliber revolver while attempting to rob him. Warren then fled the scene, leaving the gun, which had a pearl-colored grip, in a nearby alley.

Warren faces three previous counts of armed robbery and one count of attempted murder. Circuit judge Raymond Myles denied Warren bail for the murder charge, according to the Tribune.

Warren pleaded not guilty to these charges on January 11.

Warren’s lawyer claimed earlier that his confession was coerced, according to an earlier report. The Chicago Police Department, however, says it followed proper procedures.

Benjamin Williams, 21, and Eric Walker, 15, are also charged in the murder. Williams faces charges of first-degree murder, aggravated discharge of a firearm, and armed robbery, said Andy Conklin of the State’s Attorney’s office. Prosecutors allege that Williams served as a lookout during the robberies, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report.

Walker is charged with first-degree murder, attempted armed robbery, and armed robbery.

Yesterday Julie Peterson, vice president for communications at the University, called the shooting a “double tragedy,” referring to both Cisse’s death and the involvement of young teenagers. Peterson said that the University administration is “relieved” that police were able to offer a solution to the case. Police have now closed the case, Peterson said.

Since the shooting, University administrators have stepped up security measures on campus, adding more police officers and hiring a safety consulting company, the Bratton Group, to evaluate campus safety, Peterson said.

The Bratton Group’s recommendations will be issued in the spring, she said. She said that the firm is interviewing students and assessing the U of C’s safety measures relative to those of peer institutions. The firm held a focus group session on February 12.

The University increased police patrols by 50 percent after the shooting.