Man faces weapons charges from incident at apartment complex

Man faces weapons charges from incident at apartment complex

URBANA — An Urbana man who allegedly fired shots at an apartment complex in west Champaign has been criminally charged.

Chernenko C. Smith, 28, who listed an address in the 2600 block of East Illinois Street, was arrested early Tuesday morning.

A Champaign police report said officers responded to a number of calls regarding shots fired at Countrybrook Apartments in the 2500 block of West Springfield Avenue around midnight Monday.

A caller identified the shooter as "Niko" and said he was wearing a pink and blue shirt and that he had put a gun in a grey car.

Officers found a man dressed in a pink and black shirt standing on the apartment commons who confirmed his name was Niko. Holding car keys and an automatic car opener, the man, later identified as Smith, said the grey car was his.

When officers asked for permission to search it, he told them they could not.

As officers were talking to one of the people who called 911, they found a spent shell casing on the ground near the grey car. Smith denied that he had fired a handgun and again denied them permission to search the car.

Police then learned that the car did not belong to Smith and contacted the registered owner, who gave them permission to search.

In the trunk, police found a loaded .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun containing ammunition like the spent casing found on the ground by the car. Police also learned that the gun had been stolen from Rantoul.

Smith was charged Tuesday with reckless discharge of a firearm and aggravated unlawful use of weapon. Both are Class 4 felony offenses carrying penalties ranging from probation to one to three years in prison upon conviction.

Judge John Kennedy set Smith's bond at $15,000 and told him to be back in court July 22.

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