2nd fatal shooting in 25 days stuns residents
CHAMPAIGN — While Champaign police continued their search Sunday for the gunman responsible for the city's second fatal shooting in 25 days, a North Sixth Street neighborhood remained in stunned disbelief.
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"I can't believe this shooting took place in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon," said Destiny Jones of Champaign, who was with her 4-year-old daughter at nearby Douglass Park on Sunday evening. "You have to be pretty bold to do something like that."
No arrests had been made as of Sunday night in the shooting death of 22-year-old Rakim J. Vineyard a day earlier, Champaign police Lt. Robert Rea told The News-Gazette.
The shooting occurred at about 12:24 p.m. Saturday in the 1000 block of North Sixth Street, roughly a block north of Douglass Park and less than two blocks from Booker T. Washington STEM Academy.
Mr. Vineyard was pronounced dead at 4:47 p.m. in the critical-care unit of Carle Foundation Hospital, Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said. An autopsy has been set for today.
Rea said Sunday that police think the shooter came looking for Mr. Vineyard, whose body was found lying on the sidewalk. It doesn't appear that it was a drive-by shooting, he added.
"We think the shooter was on foot when it occurred, and we think it is possible he left in a gold-colored car that was seen leaving the scene," he said.
Witnesses described the shooter as a black man between 17 and 25 years old, about 5 feet, 9 inches tall, wearing a white shirt and blue jean shorts or pants.
On Sunday night, police were not releasing information about how many times Mr. Vineyard was shot or how many bullets were recovered from the scene.
Saturday's was the second fatal shooting of the summer in Champaign.
On June 24, Allen Redding, 26, was shot in the 1500 block of Hedge Road — more than 2 miles from where Mr. Vineyard was gunned down — and died of his injuries. His body was found about 5:50 p.m. Three men have been criminally charged in connection with Mr. Redding's death. Only two have been arrested.
Earlier Saturday, police responded to a report of shots fired at 1:39 a.m. at Fifth Street and Columbia Avenue, roughly six blocks south of the deadly incident that afternoon.
"At this point, we don't know if (Saturday's) was related to any of the other recent shootings," Rea said.
Since police have received a limited amount information from witnesses, they're asking for the public's help.
According to police, there was a large number of people present in the area of Saturday's fatal shooting, but officers so far have not received much information from any of them.
"We are looking for some person to come forward to provide us with information," Rea said. "We would like to learn more, but we're going to need more cooperation from the people in the area.
"I know there were a lot of people who potentially saw what happened, and we are asking anybody with information to come forward."
He said that Champaign police have stepped up patrols in the North Sixth Street neighborhood since Saturday's shooting.
Meanwhile, family and friends set up a makeshift memorial with stuffed animals, candles and an "R.I.P. Rakim" message written in chalk on the sidewalk near where Mr. Vineyard's body was found.
Neighborhood resident Darnell Davis was walking his dog not far from the site around 6 p.m. Sunday. Davis said he refused to let gun violence curtail his routine.
"Hearing about the shooting shook me up quite a bit, even though I didn't personally know the young man who got shot," he said. "But life must go on. If we stay away from the streets, then the criminals have won."
Said fellow resident Kayla Drew: "If these shootings keep up like this, I wouldn't be surprised if we start seeing more folks around here get concealed-carry permits."
Champaign police ask that anyone with information about the shooting call them at 351-4545 or Champaign County Crimestoppers at 373-8477.
Information may also be left anonymously online at 373tips.com or by cellphone text message by sending CCTIP plus the information to CRIMES (274637).
Crimestoppers will pay a reward if the information leads to an arrest. Cash rewards are also paid for information on other felony crimes or fugitives in the Champaign County area.
Saturday's fatal shooting was the second to occur in broad daylight this summer:
June 24: About 5:50 p.m. on a Tuesday, Champaign police found Allen Redding mortally wounded outside in the 1500 block of Hedge Road. Officers were told that people were being chased in vehicles by others who were armed and that multiple shots had been fired.
Saturday: About 12:24 p.m., Champaign police say Rakim Vineyard was shot an unspecified number of times in the 1000 block of North Sixth Street.
"It appears as if the shooter came looking for the victim specifically," Lt. Robert Rea said.