Champaign police investigate 3 shootings, 2 fatal

Champaign police investigate 3 shootings, 2 fatal

This weekend brought yet another shooting for Champaign police to investigate.

"When the officers got there they discovered several people had been hit by gunfire, one of which ended up dying at the hospital, three others had non-life-threatening injuries."

That shooting claimed the life of 34-year-old Montrez Vonner. It's the third shooting Champaign has seen in less than a week and the second fatal shooting.

"These aren't people being killed in the act of committing an armed robbery,” Champaign Deputy Mayor Tom Bruno said. “These are disputes, private disputes, some of which have their basis in drug dealing, some of them have their basis in other things, some of them come from other communities and they spill over into our community."

Police believe there were people who witnessed these shootings. They're making another plea for those individuals to come forward.

"Don't make any assumptions that somebody else who might have been there has already called the police,” Champaign Police Lieutenant Nathan Rath said. “We weren't there, we need people who were there to contact and provide us with more information."

City leaders also said public cooperation is key.

"We could double, triple, quadruple the number of police cars on the street and probably not make a measurable dent into these sorts of shootings,” Deputy Mayor Bruno said.

That's why city council is focusing their efforts on developing community outreach programs and working with at-risk youth to create more positive relationships with law enforcement and encourage community policing.

"Without programs like CU Fresh Start would we have had three or four shootings? It's hard to know. But we have to continue the effort,” Deputy Mayor Bruno said. "It's a constant battle."

Anyone with information on the recent shootings can report tips anonymously to Champaign County Crime Stoppers at (217) 373-TIPS.

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