CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - One man is dead and five others were wounded in shootings near the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus and a related hit-and-run incident early Sunday morning.
Investigators say a fight that began inside a house party escalated when the people involved moved outside. Then, shots rang out. George Korchev of Mundelein, Illinois was walking by when he was struck and killed, investigators say. Three other people were wounded by gunfire.
Kathryn Lawlor was celebrating her 23rd birthday, returning to campus this weekend after graduating from U of I last year. She was documenting her bar crawl on Snapchat when shots rang out.
“I started taking a video and I was just going to say ‘I’m going to Red Lion,’” Lawlor said. “Then all of a sudden you just hear those five shots.”
Lawlor said she witnessed the chaotic aftermath on Green Street.
“I saw people being taken away on stretchers, I saw the entire street blocked off, I saw 15 different police cars – police were everywhere, there was a K-9 unit,” she said.
Illinois junior Connor Loughlin lives in the building where the fight started.
“That just went south and the people involved decided to take it outside, and then it escalated even more,” Loughlin said.
Korchev was killed, while three other victims suffered non-life threatening gunshot wounds and were transported to the hospital.
A fifth person was hit by a car as they ran from the scene, suffering minor injuries. Then just after 1:00 a.m., a second shooting happened in the 700 Block of S. State Street. Police say one person was shot and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. They were taken to the hospital for treatment.
Investigators believe both shootings are related. They are reviewing nearby surveillance footage and looking for the gunmen in both shootings, as well as the driver who struck the person after the first shootings.
“The investigation is progressing, we’re following up on leads and interviewing witnesses,” said Champaign Deputy Police Chief Joe Gallo.
Anyone who was at the party or who may have witnessed any of these incidents is urged to contact the Champaign Police Investigations Division at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 217-351-4545.