Updated: Shooting victim out of surgery, still in critical condition

Updated: Shooting victim out of surgery, still in critical condition

URBANA — Urbana police are not ready to say why they think a 22-year-old woman was shot in the northwest corner of the city early Wednesday.

"We're still sorting it out," a frustrated Bryant Seraphin said late Wednesday afternoon.

The lieutenant in investigations was awakened about 5 a.m. with the news that the homeless woman, who police know, had been shot about a half-hour earlier near the entrance of the Hamilton on the Park housing complex at the northeast corner of Wright and Eads streets.

All day, investigators collected evidence and talked to witnesses.

"We have different people who have been able to give us different bits of information," said Seraphin, unwilling to make any of it public Wednesday.

What he was willing to say is that the woman was walking alone on the sidewalk on Eads Street in front of the complex when she was hit by a man described only as being in his early 20s.

He wouldn't say how many shots police believe were fired or if she was a target or merely in the way of another target.

"We don't really know. Nothing has broken the case wide open yet," said Seraphin, adding that he's been in contact with his former co-worker, Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb, who is also feeling the stress of unsolved shootings in his city.

Seraphin said late Wednesday afternoon that the woman was out of surgery but still in critical condition. She has family in the area, he said.

Seraphin was also not prepared to say if the woman even had any connection to the housing complex, which has been the scene of multiple calls for police service in 2014.

In May, police Lt. Richard Surles said the city and the police department were working with the property managers to improve security at the 36-unit development for low-income residents. The complex opened in October as a replacement for Dunbar Court and was fully leased by January.

"I outlined a security plan and asked them to do certain things. They didn't balk at anything. They agreed to every suggestion I had," said Surles.

"One of the big things we asked them to finish was the fence. That was completed late last week," he said.

A bullet hit the newly installed fence Wednesday, Surles said, and a News-Gazette photo confirmed.

"I knew that some of these things couldn't take place overnight, like the fence. That was a very large fence that came at a significant price. That fence was more than $100,000," he said.

At Surles' suggestion, the on-site property manager also became full-time. He had been splitting his time between Hamilton and the Oakwood Trace complex in Champaign. The managers also hired part-time security guards to work overnight when the manager is not there.

"I spoke with a woman (Wednesday morning) who was on her way home from work and she said things have gotten better. The fence and the presence of security officers had helped," he said.

However, there was no security guard working when the shooting happened, Surles said.

"The next thing that I'm going to be moving on, and this was my plan before the shooting, is I had asked them to install security cameras. I knew that was going to take some time, too. There's only one way to eat an elephant — one bite at a time," he said.

"It is fair to say that management, the property management company, the owners, and the Housing Authority of Champaign County have been cooperative with the city and the police department in implementing the safety and security plan," Surles said.

The complex sits on land owned by the Housing Authority, which leases it to the Atlanta, Ga.-based Benoit Group under a long-term agreement. The Benoit Group contracts with a company to manage the property, Surles said earlier.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Urbana police at 384-2320. Tips can be left anonymous with Crimestoppers at 373-TIPS, online at http://www.373tips.com or via text message by sending CCTip plus the information to CRIMES (274637).

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kjackson75 wrote on July 30, 2014 at 9:07 am

When  does the violence end??? When are we going to start being PROACTIVE???People we have got to WAKE UP and adults it is time to stop being afraid of kids and take the neighborhoods back. A big problem is that people run and move out of the neighborhoods allowing the people who are creating the crimes to take over. NO, this has to stop and I will start with me. I will go in neighborhoods, stand outside of stores and ask people to sign a petition that says we will be responsible for other people's children. If you see my child or I see Joe Blow's child standing out doing something that they should not be doing, I will SAY SOMETHING, not sit there and act like I don't see what is going on. We have to step out of our comfort zones and speak up to children whom we don't know. If someone gets out of control or we see some suspicious behavoir, CALL THE POLICE!!! They don't have to know you called the police, if you are afraid, call anonymously and tell the police dispatcher NOT to reveal your name. Law officials please respect this because people are fearful for their own lives and their family's lives and don't want to be caught in the MIDST of this madness. It has to stop and start somewhere. Ministers and Missionaries it's time to step out of the four corners of the walls of church and walk and pray through the neighborhoods. Help me make a difference PLEASE. These are our kids and grandkids future, if things don't change, they will not have one.

welive wrote on July 30, 2014 at 1:07 pm

its such a good thing we now have concealed carry.i feel this will help in preventing gun crimes.


787 wrote on July 30, 2014 at 3:07 pm

In time... it might help.

SaintClarence27 wrote on July 31, 2014 at 9:07 am

The kind of people that are willing to shoot unarmed victims are not generally the kind of people that would consider the consequences of the victim having a gun first.

Ellen wrote on July 30, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Our FUTURE is depicted in the graphic photographs above. These are the youth of our city. They are obliterating each other. I agree with KJackson. We ALL need to become proactive. My heart breaks every time I read about these senseless acts of violence. If war began on our continent, we would be fighting FOR each other. But now, we are the enemy. 

justkerrie2u wrote on July 30, 2014 at 2:07 pm

This does not suprise me one bit.

Nightrider wrote on July 30, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Security plan??? Let's see spend $100,000 on a fence, hire security guards, spend overtime money for law enforcement extra patrol details, and now throw more money on security cameras..... sad state that all the low income rift raft can't just be told "NO" you can't live here for free in Urbana. I bet that fence money did not get paid for 100% by the property owner, I am sure that you and I probably donated to it in the form of some kind of residential development grant money to help those most likely to tear it all apart in 10-15 years down the road. Then we will just move them to some other side of town and give them another new apartment to live in!

SaintClarence27 wrote on July 31, 2014 at 9:07 am

You're right! We should herd all the poor people into their own "favelas" or something. Some kind of "camp" where they are "concentrated," so we can forget about them. We can take them there by train! Out of sight, out of mind, right? That's the final solution!

map89 wrote on July 30, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Who are these people?  These are not MY youth.  My youths were raised to be respectful, responsible and are successful adults.  Small wonder that these children are being expelled from our schools at a higher rate and make up a larger portion of prison inmates.  It is obvious that throwing more money at the problem (Section 8, food stamps, welfare) is not helping at all.  This community needs to get a handle on their problems.  I can remember when C-U was a nice, safe place to live and raise a family.  As for us, we will be moving to Utah when we retire. Get ready Turnberry...this is your future.  If this is an example of "cultural differences", I want no part of it.


Bulldogmojo wrote on August 04, 2014 at 4:08 pm

"Urbana police are not ready to say why they think a 22-year-old woman was shot in the northwest corner of the city early Wednesday. "We're still sorting it out,"

Apparently everyone else is ready to say why she got shot and once again it's a "round em up and put em in camps" type of xenophobia. Some people on here must think the movie District 9 was a training film. Ugh

SaintClarence27 wrote on August 05, 2014 at 8:08 am

The lack of empathy is startling.

No, I don't expect you to empathize with a violent shooter, but to take that opportunity to blame ALL poor people and demand the end of "entitlements," all while failing to recognize the intersection of poverty and violence is downright maddening to me.