'Brilliant' Columbia doctoral student shot in the head, killed by his boyfriend, police say

A promising Columbia University graduate student described by colleagues as ‘brilliant’ and ‘kind’ was killed after an argument with his boyfriend at his home in Houston Sunday night, according to Texas police.

Devon Wade, 28, was shot in the head by his 29-year-old boyfriend, Mario Jerrell Williams, who turned himself in to Harris County police shortly after the incident.

Williams and Wade got into an argument on Sunday, prosecutors said at probable cause court Monday night, Click2Houston reported. A witness told police that Williams was upset and Wade asked him to leave several times, and he did.

Prosecutors said the witness told them that Williams returned to the home, and Wade asked him to leave again, escorting him downstairs. Williams also told police that Wade punched him and chased him downstairs.

Two gunshots rang out, and the witness saw Wade’s twin brother, Stephen, standing over him asking for someone to call 911.

Williams is being held in Harris County jail on $100,000 bond.

Friends and colleagues remembered Wade, a doctoral student in sociology who was researching the impact of incarceration and poverty on communities of color, as someone who wanted to change the world.


“How do we have better conversations and policies around what is going on in our neighborhoods? I think that for me, it's something I look forward to doing with the type of research and conversations that I have,” Wade, who was the child of an incarcerated father and a mother who also served time, told Click2Houston in April.

On Facebook, the writer Darnell Moore posted about Wade's death: "There are no words to adequately describe the collective pain resulting from your transition." 

Shamus Khan, professor and chair of the sociology department at Columbia University, tweeted that Wade “transformed our department and our university.”

Wade graduated with honors from Louisiana State University and was a Harry S. Truman scholar.

Although domestic violence impacts all types of relationships, a study from the U.S. Department of Justice found that 23.1 percent of men who lived with same-sex partners had experienced rape, physical assault or stalking by an intimate partner—compared to only 7.4 percent of men who cohabited with women only.

"Everybody wants to know why would you do that?” Lavoshea Hendry, a friend and fellow member of a children of incarcerated parents advocacy group, told Click2Houston. “He never did anything bad to warrant you to take his life." 

Christopher Carbone is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.