'Cease fire now': C-U speakers call for end of gun violence

'Cease fire now': C-U speakers call for end of gun violence

CHAMPAIGN — Community members are pleading with those responsible for this weekend's shootings to "cease fire now" and stop the violence before an innocent bystander gets hurt.

A number of groups called a morning press conference on Monday to address the violence and to ask residents to take responsibility for their actions and for their families.

"The message is clear, concise and with brevity: Cease fire now," said Herb Burnett, who owns Suits by Soouljah on Bradley Avenue.

While police continue to ask for the public's help in gathering information, their comments came after four shootings injured six men on Friday and Saturday. Police arrested one suspect, 19-year-old Jamonte Hill of Urbana, on Saturday night for his alleged connection in a Friday afternoon shooting in the 1100 block of Mimosa Drive.

"Whatever has prompted the need to fire guns, the community says it's not that serious," said Lekevie Johnson, pastor of Jericho Missionary Baptist Church.

The shootings have occurred across the north and northwest parts of Champaign. Johnson has said some residents are afraid to step outside of their homes in the wake of the violence.

"Whatever the issues are, resolve them in a peaceful manner," Johnson said, his comments aimed at those responsible for the shootings.

Victims and suspects in the weekend shootings have been young men, roughly 18 to 20 years old. Burnett called on them to look toward their futures.

"You young men are our future, and by shooting each other, you are causing self-inflicted wounds," Burnett said. "Our future depends on you. We are expecting you to lead us. We need you."

Others asked for parents to take responsibility for their families. Janice Mitchell, the parent and community liaison at Urbana School District 116, said summer has begun.

"We have a responsibility to make certain that all of our children are safe," Mitchell said.

She said children walking to the park or to summer activities should not have to worry about stray gunfire.

"You may be targeting one person, but far too often we know, innocent bystanders have the results of those bullets," Mitchell said.

The investigation into the weekend shootings continues, but Champaign police spokeswoman Rene Dunn said there is little in the way of updates.

"We're following up on leads," Dunn said. "Our biggest thing right now is urging the community to come forward."

Police have not released the conditions of victims hit with gunfire. Several were taken to the hospital. At least one did not seek treatment.

Sunday remained quiet after two shootings each on Friday and Saturday, but speakers at Monday's news conference said they must take it upon themselves to ensure it stays that way.

"We must rise to a challenge, work together, cease fire and stop the bloodshed now," said Champaign City Council member Will Kyles.

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cherokee2 wrote on June 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm

You cannot talk to these people they are lowlife gangbangers who have no family that would do anything about it or care! It is a shame that Urbana has become the hood! I wouldn't want to be a police officer in this gang ridden area let alone a respectful store owner. These type people have no place in society none zilch nada.  Conceal and carry passes you can be sure I'll be carrying in that part of town but for now I stay away as much as possible!

sweet caroline wrote on June 10, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Yes, some areas in Urbana have become the 'hood; however, this weekend's shootings occurred in Champaign.  But you are right that the pleas of the police, pastors, and community leaders will fall on deaf ears if the shootings are gang related.  Gang members probably don't read the newspaper or watch the news, and I doubt they'd be inclined to stop their crimes, anyway.

The Champaign Police Dept. WILL find the rest of the shooters.  Hopefully, Julia Reitz will do the right thing (finally) by locking them up and throwing away the keys.

pattsi wrote on June 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm

As soon as more information is made available, would it not be useful to find out if the melee of last weekend was caused by local residents or outsiders before we totally proceed down an incorrect approach of rectification? Without a complete set of facts, not now available, I can run several possible scenarios about the melee as to cause and effect.

787 wrote on June 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Search the News-Gazette website for the name "Jamonte Hill".

There's plenty to read, and plenty to show how much our State's Attorney is letting the people of this county down.

We deserve better than Julia Reitz.  We really do.

sweet caroline wrote on June 10, 2013 at 3:06 pm

And you can Google:  Jamonte Hill mug shot and get an eye full. 

cretis16 wrote on June 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Assistant State's Attorney Chris Kanis said he dismissed attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm charges against Jamonte Hill, 18, who listed an address in the 1000 block of Geraldine Avenue, because a key witness recanted his version of what happened. This was in 2012. Thank you for letting these people run free. Go ahead and hold hands, light a candle and sing songs, but this violence will continue until the city gets tough.

Danno wrote on June 11, 2013 at 8:06 am

Did someone say 'waterboard?'

rsp wrote on June 10, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Prosecutions can only take place when witnesses show up. When people are willing to serve on juries. When people will stop covering up for these cowards. When people stop maligning people who are poor and instead reach out and give opportunities. It's real easy to blame the police, the prosecutors, and the families. But what have you done to make this a better place? How have you reached out? Anyone?


big10bum wrote on June 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm

My thoughts & prayers are with the innocent people that live around these incidents, and hoping that they don't have a child or another family member injured or killed. There are too many folks around that are labeling entire neighborhoods and groups in this town, when there are hardworking, honest, loving people that are being targeted for what they aren't! 

Dann001 wrote on June 10, 2013 at 8:06 pm

There are far too many folks around whose actions justify labeling entire neighbor"Hoods" and groups in this town appropriately, where there are few working, honest or loving people who are being targeted for what they are! 

Secondly, forget Googleing mugshots, simply go to the Circuit Clerk's website and enter this little thugs name under both the Traffic and Criminal Cases lookup section to see just how many times he has skirted the law and judicial system!

cateyes wrote on June 11, 2013 at 9:06 am

No, there is not far too many folks to justify my "hood" as few working, honest or loving people. The shooting that happened again last night was a block from Douglass Community Center where there were little league games being held. They have been held for years there and not only do kids from the "hood" play there, but people outside the "hood" play and come watch these games. You don't see, but we see the positive and great strides that come from people, children, and families from this "hood". There are at least 7 nurses in that "hood" and many more hard working citizens, oh and home owners and school teachers and loan officers..........I can go on

Marti Wilkinson wrote on June 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm

If the people in question are over 18 then they are legally adults under the system. I think it's safe to say that their families have lost any semblance of control over them. That being said there are often underlying issues that leave young people vulnerable to being courted by gangs and without addressing the causes, the effects will remain. The end result is we expect the police and the prosecutors office to clean up the mess that is left behind.

Personally, I think if we decriminalize street drugs that will help address the incentive and the big money that goes into gangs and other forms of organized crime. Prohibition didn't work with alcohol back in the day, and it certainly doesn't work now.

Hamhog wrote on June 10, 2013 at 7:06 pm

If the local efforts of ceasefire is anything like the one in chicago then the main goal is not reducing Gun violence but gun control...at a sizable cost to the taxpayers. Chicago's program cost millions of dollars a year. Google it, research it and work hard to change the current proposals for Illinois concealed carry laws to help protect the law-abiding taxpayer!


TruthMatters wrote on June 10, 2013 at 8:06 pm

These "thugs" are products of bad parenting. Punk parents who don't invest the time to know what their kids are up to. And this isn't just an issue in certain neighborhoods. There are kids in every neighborhood up to no good because parents think it's someone else's job to raise their children. And it's not as if this behavior just pops up. You can see it developing when they're in elementary school. And for whatever reason parents don't intervene. Sure the police need to take action. Yes, churches and community groups need to join that fight. But the real work? It needs to be done in the home so these children are learning right from wrong, and that taking the path of least resistance, while easy, is not the right thing to do. These young men are stagnant in development and have not learned to appreciate the ramifications of their behaviors because their parents didn't teach them well enough. One commenter said that because these criminals are of age they are out of their parents control. I would argue that their parents never had control hence why we found ourselves in this predicament that is threatening the safety of the entire community. Robberies, shootings, people being mugged. Harp on the PD all you want. But while these boys get locked up there are dozens more like them being groomed for the same path because there are parents not doing their jobs. It's a revolving door of deviants. Plead your case for the cessation of gunfire? It won't work. These men may be lost to the system. Instead redirect this plea to the parents. So the next generation has degrees not mugshots. 

Dann001 wrote on June 10, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Well said.

Help2013 wrote on June 11, 2013 at 11:06 am

Morning,  I usually don' post opinoins about issues. I have read everyones comments & news in paper about shooting.  The ladys comment about parenting is very true however it doesn't help the problem currently.  We are all making assumtions without any hardcore facts (not released yet by our Police Department)  If it was truley gang related I believe there would have been more physical damage (bloodshed) they usually have full intent to injury/kill unfortunatly.  Four of them close together& the areas picked are a sign of discontent  ( no respect ) towards each other or anyone else for that matter.  I understand the Community concern & them speaking out to help resolve the Crease Fire concern.  This could happen anywhere but its happening in our small town of C-U.  The police depend on citizens giving information to help resolve all kinds of criminal acts most of the time to make arrest/convictions. Investigation by them doesn't happen much these days like it use too or interaction w/ neighborhood knowing who hangs with who or where they hang out.  It really boils down to lack of concern, respect, or help they neighbor things very well taught in our upbringing.  The 10 Commandments come to mind.   I work in the neighborhood where some of the shootings happened,  most of them are not going to provided any information for lots or reasons, afraid, do not want to be involved, more importantantly they will not release information when its about there own kind unless you find someone you know personallly or have hand business dealings with maybe you get a little information in what you seeking help with.  Very Sad the whole picture one bad apple spoils it for everyone else!  I believe you should speak out to your politications esp. about the conclealed Gun law at hand/ or community protection were the ones that but them in office even though sometimes I believe they let that slip there minds, or are they held to a strict code of will to abide the Law, serve the public with stict judgement & good sound etticts.  ( NO TRADING/ MUDDLYING OF THE WATERS) so to speak.    Take pride in what you do and to others.    


Commonsenseman wrote on June 11, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Fools, brainwashed by the politicians into thinking guns are the problem.  Guns are the how not the why.  People being paid to have kids that they dont care for, a political system that enslaves people with hand outs, not hand ups aand a states attorneys office that doesnt prosecute criminals.  Thats the why.  Chicago is a disease thats spreading down here too.  If you live in the "hood" or Chicago ask yourself why the same politicans you support have been in power for decades and your people are still living in ruin.  Maybe they care more about politics than you, maybe you need to make different decisions come election time.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on June 13, 2013 at 10:06 am
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Who in the article or the comment thread mentioned gun control before you did?


Also, the shooters who have been arrested so far grew up around here, not in Chicago.  Nice try though.

Commonsenseman wrote on June 14, 2013 at 7:06 am

"Ceasefire" has a well known anti gun agenda.  Although the shooter are not from Chicago, the Chicago style politics, politicians and criminals are in our area. 

Marty wrote on June 14, 2013 at 9:06 pm

What if peoplle were required to own a gun?


25 years murder-free in 'Gun Town USA'


alabaster jones 71 wrote on June 14, 2013 at 11:06 pm
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I stubbed my toe today.  It's Chicago's fault.

Commonsenseman wrote on June 15, 2013 at 9:06 am

Actually it is, if you stubbed your toe because the sidewalk or street in front of your home needed repair but your tax dollars went to Chicagos corrupt politicians it is their fault.  Then you went to see a doctor but he had no appointments and there were 50 ilegal immigrants in line in front of you.  Why do you support the corrupt politicians that destroy the black community?

mark taylor's ghost wrote on June 16, 2013 at 11:06 pm

That's actually backwards. Just like red states are tax takers and blue states are tax donors, the blue areas of Illinois are tax donors and the red areas are tax takers. Even blue CU reaps economic benefits from being in the same state as Chicago.

Have you ever driven on highways through Arkansas? The second you cross the state line you know it because your car starts vibrating and any loose parts might just shake off. If Chicago weren't part of Illinois, the state would be known as North Arkansas.