Source AP ©

University of Chicago tries to reassure students about their safety

Gun attacks have made officials at a prestigious U.S. university Tuesday convince students of their safety on a campus surrounded on three sides by some of the country's toughest neighborhoods.

Amadou Cisse, who the University of Chicago said was 29, was shot and killed early Monday while walking near campus - less than an hour after a university staff member was shot at while also walking nearby and two female students were robbed at gunpoint, police said.

Police presence was increased at the university on Tuesday and the school's president, Robert Zimmer, said in a letter to students that they wold indefinitely increase University Police patrols.

The university has long grappled with security issues. Its Hyde Park location in south Chicago is bordered on three sides by high crime areas. Its fourth side fronts Lake Michigan.

Cisse, a graduate student in chemistry, had successfully defended his doctoral thesis in recent weeks, officials said. The Senegalese Embassy in Washington said he was the son of a deceased military officer and his mother, two brothers and a sister live in Dakar, the African nation's capital.

It was shortly before 1:30 a.m. Monday that witness saw a gunman fire a shot at Cisse's chest before fleeing in a car, police said. Police said the incident may have been an attempted robbery, although Cisse's wallet and books were left behind.

University officials came under fire Monday for not notifying students about Cisse's death or the other incidents for nine hours. Officials said they were proceeding cautiously to gather facts.

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