A Temple University student and West African immigrant was shot in an attempted robbery this morning in a Southwest Philadelphia park because he did not understand the gunman's commands, police said.

Mamadou Makadji, 22, was pistol-whipped and shot once in the chest around 1:12 a.m. in Elmwood Park, said Philadelphia Homicide Capt. James Clark.

Makadji was declared dead a short time later at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Makadji and two friends were sitting on a bench in the park, at 71st and Buist Avenue, when a lone gunman approached and "announced a robbery," Clark said.

Because of the language barrier, Makadji did not understand what the gunman was saying. The robber pistol-whipped and shot Makadji when he did not comply fast enough with his commands, the captain said.

The two friends - also West African students - escaped unharmed. The gunman did not take anything after shooting Makadji.

Makadji grew up in West Africa - Clark did not know which country - and came to Philadelphia to attend Temple. He lived nearby with family in a West African enclave of the neighborhood.

Clark called the killing "senseless."

The gunman was described only as a black male with a dark complexion.

Anyone with any information should call the Homicide Unit at 215-686-3334/5/6.

Contact staff writer Troy Graham at 215-854-2730 or tgraham@phillynews.com.