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St. John’s University student visiting sick mother for her birthday in Chicago is fatally shot

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CHICAGO – A 19-year-old St. John's University student was visiting family in his hometown of Chicago when he was shot and killed on his front porch over the weekend.

Arshell "Trey" Dennis III, the son of a Chicago police officer, was identified as the slain victim, PIX11 affiliate WGN reported.

Authorities in Chicago said the shooting happened right after midnight Sunday when Dennis and a friend were sitting in front of his family house. He was hit in the chest and was pronounced dead at a hospital. A Chicago police spokesperson said they have no arrests and are investigating the shooting as a case of mistaken identity.

Chicago police's superintendent said Monday that Dennis was not targeted because his father was a police officer.

"We think it's simply a case of mistaken identity," the superintendent said. "You got a kid going to St. John's University, doing what he should have been doing."

Dennis had come home Thursday to surprise his ill mother for her birthday, according to WGN. She heard the shots but was unable to do anything because she was recovering from a debilitating sickness.

Trey was a junior studying journalism at St. John's University in Jamaica, Queens. He was scheduled to fly back Sunday afternoon.

His family released a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times:

“Our family is deeply saddened this by tragic and senseless shooting.The loss of our son is stunning and painful. Trey was a junior in college at Saint John University, majoring in Journalism. Tragically, we were going to take him to airport today at 3 p.m. to return to school. Now because of this senseless violence, we will be grieving and planning his funeral. Trey was smart, funny, and the light of our lives. We ask for privacy at this time as we collect ourselves and deal with this stunning loss.”

A classmate of Dennis posted a video of him on YouTube, where he spoke at length about his aspirations as a young college student.