CHAMPAIGN — A walk for peace has been scheduled for this evening in the wake of two shootings — one of them fatal — in the last two days.
“Over the past two days there have been two shootings in our community,” said Patricia Avery, president of the Champaign County NAACP. “One of those shootings ended tragically in Garden Hills yesterday. Local pastors, community leaders, and members of our community are calling for an end to the violence.”
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Avery said she and Pastor Lekevie Johnson will lead a "community prayer for peace walk," beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Johnson's Jericho Missionary Baptist Church, 1601 W. Bloomington Road, C, and go to the Garden Hills subdivision. Leaders will pray for peace and call for an end to violence, Avery said.
The move comes as Champaign police are investigating the fatal shooting of a man in northwest Champaign, a second shooting in the city in just over 24 hours that appears to be gang-related.
Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup identified the man killed as Allen M. Redding, 26. Northrup said he had no address for Mr. Redding but court records indicate that in April he listed an address on Southwood Drive in Champaign.
"We do believe this is a disagreement between two gangs," said Chief Deputy Troy Daniels.
About 5:50 p.m. Tuesday, Champaign police found Mr. Redding, mortally wounded, outside in the 1500 block of Hedge Road. "He is very familiar to us," Daniels said.
Mr. Redding had been released from prison in mid-March after serving about five years of an 11-year sentence for attempted armed robbery stemming from a holdup during a dice game in Champaign in August 2008.
Officers were told that people were being chased in vehicles by others who were armed and that multiple shots had been fired.
The officers tended to Mr. Redding until paramedics could get him to the emergency room at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, where he was pronounced dead.
Police are looking for two vehicles and at least four men "that were connected to this shooting," he said, adding that the some are friends of Mr. Redding and others are from a rival gang. He declined to name the gangs.
"The danger that was posed to the neighbors and children in this area was significant. We received reports there were children very close by. Without question, we will use whatever resources we have available to find every person connected to this homicide," Daniels said.
Police are looking for two vehicles described as a newer, black, four-door passenger car and a silver sport utility vehicle.
The men they are looking for are all described as black, Daniels said.
One was wearing a white shirt; the second was about 18, wearing a jean jacket with no sleeves and blue jeans; the third was about 30, 5 feet, 11 inches, 145 pounds; and the fourth about 18, 5 feet, 10 inches, weighing 160 pounds.
Daniels said it's possible a second man may have been injured in the Tuesday evening gunfire but police have not found him. That's similar to what happened Monday night.
Police were called about 7:15 p.m. to the 2100 block of West White Street and found evidence that shots had been fired and people who told them they saw a person shooting from one vehicle at another.
Police learned later that a 22-year-old man who had been driving a white Pontiac that had been found abandoned and bullet-riddled near Mattis and Kirby avenues showed up at Presence Covenant Medical Center for treatment. He had been shot in the leg.
In that case, police are looking for a tan or gold-colored newer model car that was last seen leaving Gramercy Apartments going east on White Street toward Country Fair Drive.
Police are asking for help in solving both shootings, which brings to more than 15 the number of gun-related crimes in the city in the last three weeks.
"We need people with information to come forward to be successful. I know there are some people who are afraid of retaliation. Please remember the innocent children who were in the area who could have been hurt in this reckless gunfire. Crimestoppers can and will keep them anonymous if they need to use Crimestoppers," Daniels said.
Anyone with information about the latest shooting or any crime can contact Champaign Police at 217-351-4545. Callers can remain anonymous by calling Crimestoppers at 373-8477.
Information can also be sent by anonymous web tip by going to: www.373tips.com or by texting keyword “CCTIP” plus the information to 274637 (CRIMES).