CHAMPAIGN — A man holed up inside a northwest Champaign apartment complex surrounded by police for about five hours Saturday was taken to an area hospital shortly after 5 p.m.
Champaign police spokeswoman Rene Dunn said about 11:50 a.m. Saturday, police were called to the 2000 block of Cynthia Drive to check on a person believed to be armed inside a unit at Garden Village Apartments. About a half-hour later, police received calls about noises at 12:20 p.m.
"Callers heard loud noises. One sounded like shots fired," Dunn said.
She said about 16 residents were evacuated from the building and surrounding homes as a precaution. Some were picked up by friends.
Dunn could not be reached for comment after the episode ended, but Jonathan Beacham, one of the neighbors displaced from his home for a few hours, said he was told no one was hurt and the man who had reportedly fired the shots was taken away in an ambulance. Beacham said he was told the man has mental difficulties.
Beacham, who recently moved here from Sacramento, Calf., is living at his in-laws' home across the street on Cynthia with his wife and three children. A sheriff's deputy came to the door about 2 p.m. to tell them to leave because "several shots had been fired."
The six of them — his wife was at work — went to a sit on a Mass Transit District bus near Garden Hills School to stay warm until the school could be opened.
Beacham said his children, ages 8, 7 and 4, had a pretty good time running around the school for a couple of hours.
Traffic in the area of Cynthia Drive and Bloomington Road and Cynthia and Anita drives was diverted while the man was in the apartment. Dunn said the Champaign police SWAT team, Champaign County sheriff's deputies and University of Illinois police were at the apartment complex.