'Thriving' Temple University senior shot dead in Philadelphia as city grapples with homicides

Samuel Collington, 21, was set to graduate in the spring.

A "thriving" Temple University student set to graduate this spring has been gunned down near the school's Philadelphia campus.

Samuel Collington, a 21-year-old senior, was shot Sunday afternoon, the university said, becoming one of more than 500 people killed in Philadelphia this year.

Collington had just parked when he was shot, returning to school following Thanksgiving with his family, reported ABC Philadelphia station WPVI.

He was taken to Temple University Hospital where he was pronounced dead less than 30 minutes later from gunshot wounds to the chest and back, Philadelphia police said. No arrests have been made, police said.

"This is a true tragedy in every sense of the word," Charlie Leone, the university's executive director of Public Safety, said in a statement Sunday, adding that Collington's slaying "further highlights the senseless gun violence that continues to grip the city of Philadelphia."

Last week Philadelphia reached 500 homicides for the year, tying the record set in 1990 for the sixth-largest city in the country.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a statement, "We will continue to work with our local, state, and federal partners and other stakeholders to get ahead of the violent crime that is plaguing our beautiful communities. We remain committed to proactively patrolling neighborhoods and encourage community members to continue to work alongside the police."

Outlaw told ABC News chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas earlier this month, "We're on pace to get 6,000 illegal crime guns off the street this year; we've made a record number of arrests for carrying guns illegally."

Leone said Temple senior officials spoke with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s office on Sunday. Leone said the university is "intensifying our work with the city, community groups and the Philadelphia Police Department to further enhance safety in and around the Temple community."

The mayor's office said in a statement, "We're heartbroken for Samuel’s friends and family as they cope with this unimaginable loss. Our thoughts are with his loved ones, the Temple University community, and his colleagues in the City Commissioners’ Office. Philadelphia police are actively investigating this horrific incident and we urge anyone with information to contact the anonymous tip line: call or text at 215-686-TIPS (8477)."

The mayor's office continued, "Reducing gun violence remains the City of Philadelphia’s top priority, and we will continue to work tirelessly with our community partners in response to the national public health emergency that gun violence presents."

Leone called Collington "a bright and thriving political science student" who "already was succeeding in his field."

Collington worked as a fellow in the office of Philadelphia City Commissioner Omar Sabir.

Sabir in a statement called Collington "an incredibly talented and engaged young man" who "exemplified an incredible passion for engaging voters."

Sabir added, "We must combat this epidemic that plagues our city."