Police need help solving fatal shooting in northwest Champaign

UPDATED NOON

CHAMPAIGN —  Champaign police are practically begging people in the Garden Hills neighborhood who know something about the fatal shooting of a Champaign woman Wednesday night to tell them what they know.

"We believe that there were several people who were witnesses to this and we are asking them to come forward with information. We are confident there are others who could give a lot of details. If their relative was hurt, they would want someone to come forward with information and that’s we’re asking that neighborhood to do,” said Champaign Deputy Police Chief Troy Daniels.

Daniels declined to give details of what led up to the fatal shooting of Desirae E. Austin, 20, how many times she was shot, a possible motive, or even the sex of a suspect.

Mrs. Austin was found mortally wounded in the intersection of Thornton Drive and Cruising Lane about 10:20 p.m.

She was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital where she was pronounced dead in the emergency room at 11:10 p.m.

“Several people we’ve spoken to already,” Daniels said. “There is certain information out there we’ve not uncovered. We believe there were several people out at this intersection when this occurred about 10:20 p.m. right after the fireworks.”

Daniels said Mrs. Austin, who lived on North Fourth Street, was in that neighborhood because she knew people who lived there. Several folks were returning from the fireworks at Dodds Park, he said.

Daniels said Mrs. Austin’s death is a tragedy that goes well beyond her family.

“Any time someone is gunned down like this, the whole neighborhood is victimized. Every kid who knows someone lost their life in their block is traumatized. We are using all the resources we can to solve it. We had officers out all night and we’re continuing to process evidence and follow up on leads,” he said.

Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said Mrs. Austin’s husband is in the military in Alaska but that she has several relatives in Champaign.

An autopsy will be done, he said.

Police ask that anyone with information call the department at 351-4545 or Crimestoppers. Calls can be made anonymously to 217-373-8477 or web tips can be made by going to www.373tips.com or by texting keyword CCTIP plus the information to 274637 (CRIMES).

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rsp wrote on July 05, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Don't call yourself her friend if you are protecting the person who did this to her. Don't lie to her family about how much you cared about her and turn a blind eye while they're suffering. Don't complain that someone needs to do something without looking at yourself first. Give her life meaning. 

trysomethingnew wrote on July 05, 2012 at 3:07 pm

It would be nice if we could get the same response in these situations as we got when Martel Miller's son was arrested.  But nope that won't happen.  No one is going to tell us about what happened to this mother of 2 while all those people were there. But if someone gets mistreated by the police, believe all those people are going to show up for that! But they can't show a little humanness and show up for this young girl. Its just sad.

rsp wrote on July 05, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Stop living in the past and "try something new" for a change.

Marti Wilkinson wrote on July 08, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Community members who have questioned the use of force policies of the CPD have worked with the people who have been arrested. Additionally, dash cam videos have surfaced which have resulted in the CPD being scrutinized. It's unfortunate that posters hiding behind anonymous handles have chosen to use the murder of young woman to express their chagrin over the Calvin Miller case. No matter how many times you compare apples to oranges, at the end of the day they are still apples and oranges.

Now if the murder of this lady had been caught on video, then the CPD would probably not find it necessary to ask people to come forward and help them apprehend the person who killed her. As a resident of Garden Hills I hope the person is caught and prosecuted. I'm also of the mindset that I would prefer the fireworks to be moved back to Memorial Stadium.

Espio wrote on July 05, 2012 at 3:07 pm

How dare someone trespass on a community, let alone a family like this. This woman's family has to deal with a death because someone wanted to act like they were a big boy! Real men don't need a gun to get their point across. Human beings are supposed to be above this. It is absolutely pathetic that someone could just take someone's life like this. Whoever you are, your best bet would be to turn yourself in. It's bad enough that a family lost one of their own, it's even worse that it was an accident, and far worse that you're too much of a coward to take responsibility for your actions. I hope this family finds justice for what was done, but I also pray for their peace.

rsp wrote on July 05, 2012 at 4:07 pm

It's even worse when it's an "accident"? It's even worse when people make excuses and cover it up for a coward. 

phil3319 wrote on July 06, 2012 at 1:07 pm

How do you know it was a man that killed her? How do you know it was an accident? And how do we know the deceased was black? I think you might know a lot more than what you are saying.....

auntsonyas wrote on July 05, 2012 at 4:07 pm

This is the second fatal shooting that has taken place on the North side after the fireworks display in as many years. When the event was held on campus the crowd was filtered afterward through all of the surrounding neighborhoods, now everyone is moving in one direction after the fireworks are over and it's bringing chaos to an already troubled neighborhood. Don't hold the fireworks display at Parkland again, not even one more time. It's not worth one death. It's not worth a death every year. Come on people, use your common sense and put a stop to this stupidity. Just because it's the North side doesn't mean the people there matter less.  

keyboardcat wrote on July 05, 2012 at 9:07 pm

"Champaign police are practically begging people" for help with this, but they can't be bothered to post a picture of the victim to help any potential witnesses identify her? These crackerjack gumshoes didn't stop to think that maybe someone who saw her in an argument with a potential suspect or had other pertinent info might not have known her by "Desirae E. Austin" or "female aged 20" and instead might need some kind of visual to help jog their memory?!?! How hard are they really trying to find this killer? If this were some white lady from Mahomet her pic would have been on every billboard by morning with FIND MY KILLER! in big letters like Holly Cassano! Sorry CPD but just because you make a statement that you are desperately trying to find the murderer doesn't make it true. Actions speak louder than words. 

Fromthearea wrote on July 05, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Did you really just drag Holly Cassano into this?  Do you know that the community that Holly was from raised money for those billboards and people paid money into her reward fund for those bumper stickers?  Her killer still has not been found, and it's been years.  Her being from Mahomet had absolutely nothing to do with it.  Her being cared about did.

This woman was murdered only last night and may have also had young children just like Holly did which makes me heart sick.  I hope there is the support necessary to find who did this to her and also just as important to make sure her family is taken care of.  I suggest you find something more productive to do with your time than pour salt into old wounds and make light of something terrible that happened to another local family just to prove whatever you think you're trying to prove here.  

rsp wrote on July 05, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Holly's family never screamed at the people trying to find her killer or called them names. Instead they worked tirelessly with law enforcement and raised funds for billboards and flyers to try and gather any information about what happened. Instead of attacking the police for doing everything they can to solve this, attack the people who were there who are covering up for the killer of Desirae.

common_sense_isn't wrote on July 10, 2012 at 10:07 am

Thank you.  This "we don't talk to the police" nonsense is the reason crimes like this don't get solved.  It's a tragedy.

LeslieM wrote on July 06, 2012 at 1:07 am

They are probably trying to keep as much information from the public as possible for court purposes. I would imagine that they have a photo that they carry to show when they are questioning people. I agree be angry at the person that killed this poor woman and not the police. This isn't a race issue this is just how the police handle the case. 

d_pulcini5 wrote on July 08, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Are people really as ignorant as you just made yourself out to be? Holly Cassano was one of my best friends and seeing as you obviously don't know anything about her or her family and friends its a little out of line for you to make such an assumption about her. Mahomet isn't just rich people in huge houses. She worked and paid for her and her daughter to live in a trailer, not some mansion. She had tons of friends and touched tons of people with her kindness. It sucks that this woman was shot and I hope they find who did it but come this November its 3 years since her brutal murder. She was stabbed multiple times, including in her heart and she was sexually assualted after she was killed. So you wanna bring up and compare crimes? Really? Know something about what you choose to refer to as facts before you do so. Her mom is still working non stop to find who murdered her daughter. THAT'S how her face got on a billboard and hoe she got bumper stickers. Don't you dare make it seem like people care more because she's "a white woman from Mahomet". I'm not sure why EVERYTHING is about race when people killed but its not. People like you need to keep their mouths shut bc you make people in general look like idiots.

Marti Wilkinson wrote on July 08, 2012 at 8:07 pm

The murder of Holly Cassano happened in Mahomet, and is outside of the jurisdiction of the Champaign Police Department. Other people who have commented on this have also noted that the Mahomet community has been involved in efforts to bring the killer to justice. Perhaps the people of Champaign can ask the city council to provide funding to purchase a "crimestoppers" billboard, to assist with unsolved crimes. Or a community group can raise the funds themselves.

Tru wrote on July 06, 2012 at 6:07 am

Who is taking care of the children? I can't even describe the level of disgust I have for anyone who saw this young woman shot and has not come forward. My belief in humanity assures me that there are people cooperating with the police as we speak. I believe the killer will be identified and apprehended soon.  However, I am still concerned about the children who are left behind. Surely, as a community we not only have a responsiblity to find the killer bu an obligation to make sure the children are okay as well. What can/should we do for the children?

Just something to think about...

vnconn wrote on July 06, 2012 at 10:07 am

I think Parkland/Dodds Park is a great place to hold the fireworks, and I think it's nice that folks from the Garden Hills area can walk to enjoy the festivities, some of these people don't have transportation and might not otherwise attend. Not everyone who lives in this area is a criminal, there are many, many upstanding citizens who are doing their best to work, to take care of their home, and are law abiding. I do believe that the city needs to distribute officers better though and not saturate the event areas as much. I'm obviously not involved in the planning but there has to be a way to organize better so they can have a couple of officers covering nearby areas to deter criminal activity . I mean, its no wonder there have been two fatal shootings during the fireworks, what better cover is there than that? Who is going to notice a couple more loud booms? Something has to be done to prevent another murder.

rsp wrote on July 06, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Too many people try to use Garden Hills as a shortcut. Maybe in the future they can block off access from Mattis so there won't be the thru traffic. Less traffic less trouble? As long as they let the whole neighborhood know ahead of time I'll bet they would get on board after all of the trouble. 

trysomethingnew wrote on July 06, 2012 at 11:07 am

To "rsp" Maybe you need to move to Mahomet, St. Joe, Tolono? I'm sure one of those communities will suite you just fine. Its hilarious how big and bad people are in these comment sections. I'd love to see you all out in Garden Hills helping with the neighborhood, but you'd rather be critical and write posts on websites.  Sad.

rsp wrote on July 06, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Maybe you need to move to Mahomet, St. Joe, Tolono?

What? You brought up something that happened over a year ago? You're not being critical and writing posts on websites? My son lives a few blocks from where this happened. So do my grandchildren. So why should I move out of town? What exactly are you trying to say? 

GraciesGirl wrote on July 08, 2012 at 7:07 pm

I have lived in the Garden Hills neighborhood for the past 14 years and currently reside less than a block from where this young woman was murdered. I did not know her or her friends and relatives but it is yet another senseless tragedy that has occurred in our community that will probably go unsolved. There is so much that has happened in our area alone that the police are overwhelmed and overworked. Look up crime reports for the last 6 months alone and you would be devastated. I urge all of you who wish to post comments on here to do real research before you post anything. And I also urge anyone who knows anything about this to please come forward. We cant stop the tragedies if everyone keeps quiet.

Marti Wilkinson wrote on July 08, 2012 at 8:07 pm

I moved to north Garden Hills in 1997 when I bought my house, and I checked with the police department before I made the offer to purchase my home. I live a few blocks away from where this tragic death occurred, and this is the second time that something bad has happened after the fireworks at Dodds park. I hope that whoever is responsible for the death of this young woman is caught and that her family gets some degree of closure. In the last year the former Joanne Dorsey housing project has been torn down to make way for new townhouses. It's my understanding that a lot of the issues affecting south Garden Hill's were blamed on the presence of public housing.

I wouldn't be surprised if there is a connection between the location of the fireworks, and the violence which occurred afterwards. Memorial stadium was an ideal location due to the access to main roads, plus the area is not in close proximity to residential subdivisions. Plus, people who live here do have personal vehicles and it would not be a sacrifice for anyone to get to the fireworks if they were still held at Memorial stadium. As it is I chose to stay inside my house, because I did not want to deal with the crowding that the fireworks brings to this area. Bradley, Mattis, and Duncan are the primary main roads that connect the community to Dodds Park. The infrastructure in this area is not designed to handle the kind of traffic that is generated by these events.

Where I'm at it's commonplace to hear people setting off fireworks before and after the fourth of July, and it's hard to make a distinction between the noise that a firecracker makes and weapons being discharged. It's possible that someone may have heard the gunfire which resulted in the death of the young woman, and mistook it for something else. My take on the article is that the police would like for anyone who may have knowledge of what happened to come forward.

 

GraciesGirl wrote on July 08, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Around the time the incident happened the main roads of the South end of Garden Hills (Hedge and Williamsburg) were not overrun with cars or foot traffic. There were people gathering outside and a few people walking but nothing like would be expected. I honestly do not think the fireworks being over here had anything to do with the violent act. However, because the fireworks were here may be why she was here and she became the victim. In our part of the area when gunshots are heard NO ONE calls the police and sadly that includes me. About 2 months ago the house on the corner from us had a stray bullet come flying through the window (one of 3 shots fired) and the ONLY reason the police were contacted in that case was because my daughter was inside that house and SHE called 911. Her call was the only one they received. A week before the shot went through the window that same house with the same residents got the back door kicked in and they stole all the electronics. They only lived there 5 months when that happened and only stayed one night after the bullet through the window.

Marti Wilkinson wrote on July 08, 2012 at 9:07 pm

If my memory is correct there is a neighborhood association that meets on the third Monday of the month at the school. It's been ages since I attended, but it may be an avenue that people can utilize to perhaps combat some of the negative elements. Since I live in an area that doesn't get a lot of activity, it kind of bugs me that people would paint the entire subdivision with the same brush. I grew up in Holiday Park, and spent my last two years on a street that did see activity. I feel safer in my own house here than I did there.



 

KBScottswoods wrote on July 09, 2012 at 10:07 am

Its a shame that everyone in CU has something when the police spray someone with pepper spray or use a little bit of force. But when they need the community to stand up and speak out about this shameless act no one has nothing to say. Crying shame to anyone who knows something and have not came forward. ALL PUNKS!

rsp wrote on July 09, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I guess you missed all of the people who gathered together praying and speaking out, huh? And the folks who have spoken to the police. Not everyone is a punk pointing fingers at the past like you. Focus on the here and now.

KBScottswoods wrote on July 09, 2012 at 2:07 pm

you live in savoy no where near any crime..lol...i stay in east urbana right next to Home Run ...i know about avoiding police and i also know that people tend to avoid C-U rascist police ...so again unless someone is trying to get paid for their information ..nothing will happen almost a week and still no arrest...DUH

Marti Wilkinson wrote on July 09, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I live in Garden Hills and I hope the person responsible for murdering this young woman is caught and prosecuted. However, I also live a few blocks north of the crime scene and was not a witness to this. Hopefully, someone with information can come forward and help solve the crime. If anything, the family and friends of the murder victim need some closure.

As for the issues regarding use of force, it's really a separate topic. In more recent cases concerned citizens have been able to watch some of the dash cam video. Even at that, people have remained divided over what was considered to be the appropriate and correct action.

Since the fireworks have been held at Dodd's park, it's been a real headache in terms of traffic and congestion. I wouldn't mind seeing these events move back to memorial stadium.

KBScottswoods wrote on July 09, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Right is Right .... Wrong is Wrong ..no matter how you slice it or try to cover it up...What happened to this young lady and her family is crazy. I just dont understand whats taking so long to catch the person who did this or at least a suspect...Crazy if someone is holding the information...

Marti Wilkinson wrote on July 09, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Renard Jackson went missing in Garden Hills last year, and it was a few months before his body was discovered. When he went missing his family, his friends, the police department, and the local media made efforts to get the word out so he could be returned to his family. His body was found next to shed located at a vacant home not too far from where he lived. His family deserves as much justice and closure as the family of the young woman who was killed last week.

There may be information that is not being released to the media, because it could hurt the investigation that is happening right now. I hope that they find the person who did this terrible thing, and that justice is served. The only information we have is what has been provided by the media, and it appears that the CPD is looking for witnesses. For all I know they may be following up on leads right now. It's been a few days since this article was published, and new information may simply not be available.

GraciesGirl wrote on July 09, 2012 at 5:07 pm

When Renard Jackson went missing police went door to door knocking, carrying a picture of him and asking everyone for any information. That too was a block from my house. We honestly didn't know him and had not seen him but the search for him continued until the unfortunate day his body was found. His family at least got some closure even if it meant just laying the poor man to rest. But the police have not gone door to door for this poor young lady and like I said in a previous post it is less than a block from my house. I nor my family know any information that would lead to finding the person responsible for this heinous crime, if we did you better believe we would come forward no matter the consequences. On that night there was a gathering of 30+ people on the corner when police arrived but we just thought they got called cause of all the fireworks that were being set off down there. It wasn't til the next morning that we found out what had happened. And still no door to door? I don't know but maybe (hopefully!!!) They have a lead in the case and someone will be brought to justice and her family can get the closure they need to lay her to a peaceful rest

rsp wrote on July 09, 2012 at 7:07 pm

No, I live on the north end. Just because you have your hand out doesn't mean everyone is the same way. You have no idea where the investigation is, who has talked to police and who hasn't. 

common_sense_isn't wrote on July 10, 2012 at 10:07 am

That's disgusting.  "Yeah we know what happened, but we won't do the right thing and tell you unless you pay us, cause we don't like the police."  No wonder the cops have nothing.  I don't know how these people sleep at night.  Yet when the police can't solve anything because they have no information to go on, we accuse them of not caring about the victim because of race, neighborhood, socio-economic status, etc.  You want more crimes to get solved in that area?  Stop this "we don't talk to the police" garbage.  Amazing what they can do with eye-witness testimony.  Anyone withholding information is a coward, plain and simple, and the lowest form of human being.

common_sense_isn't wrote on July 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Guess you have to have a politically involved daddy to have someone care about what happens to you.  If you do, you can fail to pull over when stopped by a marked police car, blow two red lights, crash into a house, and run from the cops and have everyone try to paint you as an alter boy.  Nevermind that they were thoroughly embarassed and shut their mouths after they cried foul for weeks and the video showed that it occurred exactly as the police said it did.  However, there is no "peace and justice" for you if you are "just" a murder victim, because they have better things to worry about, like showing their support for convicted rapist Steve Feagin in court every day.

Marti Wilkinson wrote on July 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Hiding behind an anonymous Internet identity to trash an organization is both cowardly, and it does not display common sense. I think it's sad and pathetic that anyone is using the murder of this woman to trash CUCPJ. I've been involved with the organization, and none of the members co-sign on illegal conduct. However, there are always going to be people who choose to confuse advocacy for fair and just treatment, with enabling criminal conduct. If you really want to understand what this organization is doing then you are welcome to attend the meetings that are held every Saturday at 4PM at the IMC. The problem I have with many of the critics is that they are often unwilling to act on the courage of their convictions, and to do anything that invites constructive dialogue. 

I'm also a resident of Garden Hills. If I had information regarding this crime, I would not hesitate to go to the police. The only person who has mentioned 'not talking' to the police is Gracie'sGirl. Neither myself, or Gracie, can claim to speak for the entire neighborhood. My take from reading her comments is that she has a genuine concern and an investment in the wellbeing of the community. I know someone who works in Urban Planning at UIUC, and I'm looking into writing an email to see what types of solutions have worked in other areas. Gracie'sGirl is welcome to contact me at mlwilki@att.net if she wishes, because I would like to work with her and other people in Garden Hills.

Since I'm a homeowner, I would not want to see my own property values go down due to violent crime. As such, it would be within my best interests to cooperate with law enforcement if I had pertinent information. One of the things I am concerned about are the number of homes that are owned by people/companies who consider the area to be a cash cow in rentals. Some landlords are pretty considerate of the homeowners who live in the area. However, when you are dealing with renters it can be a mixed bag.

Eyewitness testimony has its flaws. There are criminal convictions that have been overturned due to the false and mistaken testimony of witnesses. In the last week Andre Davis, who spent over 30 years in prison, was freed when DNA tests provided evidence that he did not murder or rape a little girl. However, it was the testimony of a witness that resulted in his conviction. The real killer has been free to walk around in society, while an innocent man lost over 30 years of his life. Justice truly was not served in that case. If testimony can support physical evidence, then the case would be a lot stronger.



 

rsp wrote on July 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm

There are two sides to Garden Hills and there is a major effort to support one side and not the other. It's been working on the other side of the tracks but for it to really succeed they need to bring it to include the other side too. You can't have one side getting better and one failing, it just won't work. I don't know when they have their meetings but if people there start to organize and ask for/demand the same help in fixing their neighborhood it could get better. 

common_sense_isn't wrote on July 11, 2012 at 10:07 am

Your internet identity is just as anonymous.  If I met you in person, I would express my dislike for CUCPJ in the strongest possible terms, and you would be welcome to your own opinion on the subject.  I've always found it quite pretentious to claim that others are "sad, pathetic, or have no common sense" because they have an opinion that differs from yours.  It is, unfortunately, quite typical of those who claim to be the most progressive and tolerant among us.  I certainly share your concern with those who are wrongfully convicted or victims of harassment by the police - and there is no denying that that occurs in this community.  My issue is that CUCPJ, probably because of who some of it's members are, uses those unfortunate instances as a sort of bandwagon approach to show support for anyone and everyone of a particular demographic - regardless of what they've done.  A boy who leads a dangerous police chase, for example.  

And yes, eyewitness testimony is flawed, no one is contesting that... But Steve Feagin left DNA evidence all over a girl he brutally sexually assaulted, and CUCPJ still showered him with support... How do you refute that? How do you show support for someone like that?  I have no problem with CUCPJ's organizational purpose, it is a valid one... My issue is the small-town politics that cause them to take up the flag for people like Miller and Feagin instead of using their influence to help with something worthwhile that will benefit the community, such as moblizing support for the police investigation of this murder.  Condemning the police in any and all situations because of previous events is the kind of polarizing action that ensures nothing will ever change.  Yet I am willing to hazard a guess that, after all their pontificating about how the police can't be trusted, they will be the first to condemn CPD if no one talks and the case goes nowhere.  It's an unfortunate Catch-22.  

This poor woman lost her life, and CUCPJ has influence in this and other communities that could be helpful in influencing people to come forward.  To me, that would be much more an expression of peace and justice than anything CUCPJ has been involved in thus far.

Marti Wilkinson wrote on July 12, 2012 at 7:07 am

My 'real' name is Martha "Marti" Wilkinson, and I don't hide behind an anonymous handle to express my opinions. Once again, you are welcome to attend the meetings that are held at the IMC to offer your suggestions.

http://cucpj.org/

You've mentioned the Steve Feagin case. How exactly has the organization 'showered' him with support? I have not seen anyone who is affiliated with CUCPJ claim that he is innocent of the crime that he has been charged with. I'm one of the administrators of the organizations facebook page, and no one has mentioned the case on fb. I've researched Feagin's name on the IMC website, the Publici, the email group for CUCPJ, individual facebook pages, and came up with nothing. If anyone was kissing his behind, I would have been able to have pulled up something from one of those sources. I'm really trying see where you are coming from here, and my research simply doesn't support what you are saying.


What I found 'sad and pathetic' is anyone who uses the murder of a young woman to attack any organization. I personally don't have a problem with differences of opinion. It takes different people to make the world a better place. However, I really think the main topic here is the murder of this young woman, and helping her family find the person who did this terrible act. Unfortunately, in addressing your comments on CUCPJ I'm just as guilty as anyone else in straying from the topic, and I can only offer my apologies to her family. I have nothing more to say on the subject matter here, and if you want to email me at mlwilki@att.net you are welcome to do so. I really think it's best to take the discussion someplace else.

common_sense_isn't wrote on July 09, 2012 at 11:07 am

Perhaps it's not the location of the fireworks that is an issue (congestion or otherwise) but people who make the decision to shoot other people, regardless of what neighborhood they choose to do that in.  Just a thought.  My deepest sympathy to the family of this poor girl.

Marti Wilkinson wrote on July 10, 2012 at 11:07 pm

When I attended neighborhood association meetings the north side was better represented, and the meetings seemed to be run more by the city neighborhood services department instead of the residents. Plus, the meetings were on Mondays at 6:30PM which is not very compatible with work/family schedules.

Currently Garden Hills is part of District Three, which is now served by Vic McIntosh who has been appointed to replace Kyle Harrison. After the next election the subdivision will be split between District One and District Three. I wonder if this change will further impact the cultural divisions that exist between the two parts of Garden Hills. However, the south portion may end up being better represented by Will Kyles. He does make an effort to keep in contact with this constituents. McIntosh is more old school in how he interacts with people. While that is not necessarily bad, it does not lend itself to the different ways that constituents communicate today.

I've emailed a copy of this article to someone I know who teaches urban planning at UIUC, and I would be interested in information on models that have been implemented in other communities.

rsp wrote on July 11, 2012 at 1:07 am

Three of the members are "at-large" members. Maybe they would be more interested? Especially since McIntosh is serving such a short term. At least to get things started. 

Marti Wilkinson wrote on July 11, 2012 at 2:07 am

At this point I want to see what kind of information I can get from my friend who works in urban planning. If there are any models that can be implemented here, then I can share the information to the council members who oversee the area. Since Vic has served as council member previously, he may well decide to run for the seat before his term expires. This is assuming that he still lives in the district that he is representing.   

Shakira wrote on July 11, 2012 at 1:07 am

I am saddened that my brother lost his daughter and my nephews lost their sister. A man lost his wife and 2 small children lost their mommy. They deserve justice. If you know anything, please help! 

rsp wrote on July 11, 2012 at 1:07 am

I'm really sorry for what happened to your family, and I hope they find who did this. Please let your family know that there is a whole community of people who stand with them.

Marti Wilkinson wrote on July 11, 2012 at 2:07 am

I truly hope that your family finds justice and closure. Words can only provide limited comfort, and my thoughts and prayers are with you.

wlat20 wrote on July 12, 2012 at 11:07 am

This is one of Desirae's family members. On behalf of our family, we would like to thank all of you for your concern. For those of you who are worried about the children, they will be taken care of by her husban and family. With that being said, we have created a fund for her children (ages 17 months & 2yrs) at Busey Bank. Anyone can go to a local Busey Bank and desposit money directly into the account. Just ask for the Semaj and Seniah fund. Anything you can donate would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks