Situation on Sixth Street: 'It's sad'

Situation on Sixth Street: 'It's sad'

CHAMPAIGN — On Sunday afternoon, community leaders banded together in Douglass Park to make a passionate plea for safe streets.

Twelve hours later, the latest round of gunfire erupted, just a block away from where 22-year-old Rakim Vineyard was fatally shot three weeks earlier.

What's the solution? Tell Tom Kacich here and he'll get back to you

Things have gotten so scary, neighborhood resident Towanda Frazier said Tuesday from her porch, she no longer feels comfortable allowing her 5-year-old grandson to play outside.

“I don’t let him come outside and ride his bike any more,” Frazier said. “I find myself being a lot more cautious about my surroundings, and I try to pay more attention to details.”

At 3:39 a.m. Monday, Champaign police say, someone fired multiple shots into a house in the 1100 block of North Sixth Street, where adults and children ages 1 and 2 were present.

According to Lt. Bob Rea, police received an anonymous call saying a person was shooting from a maroon van. At the time, officers were unable to locate the van and were unaware of any homes being hit.

But later, residents reported that rounds had been fired into their home. Officers discovered the house had been struck seven times and said the damage was consistent with bullets going through the walls.

Rea described the area as being “unusually violent recently,” which has left neighborhood residents both fearful and frustrated.

“I was born and raised in this house,” said Frazier, who lives a block from where Monday’s shooting happened. “This needs to stop. We’re going to be living here for 20, 30 more years, and we need to be able to know if we can go in or out of our house. 

“Not only do we need people to put their guns down, but we need more education. We need tougher laws against these youngsters who are getting ahold of these guns.”

The violence has hit home with Frazier, who said Mr. Vineyard was her nephew’s father. Police have not arrested his killer or killers.

“My nephew has no dad no more, and nobody has been brought up on the charges,” Frazier said. “It’s sad. The victims of the last two killings were boys who could have grown up to be the next president. They have no opportunity for anything positive. Something needs to be done about it.”

Malik Rhodes shares Frazier’s concerns. This isn’t the North Sixth Street he has known.

“I don’t even want to be outside any more,” Rhodes said late Tuesday afternoon after coming home from his job at Arby’s. “I just hope that the people who have been doing this move out of the community so we can go on with our lives.”

Nearby, 55-year-old Melvin Dudley wondered where the young people are getting the guns that have been used in the recent shootings.

“Nobody in the community is giving the guns to them,” Dudley said. “We need all this foolishness to stop. The young people need adults to be good examples so they will make better decisions.”

Dudley said he believes witnesses to the neighborhood’s recent incidents haven’t provided information to police because they don’t trust law enforcement.

“It has always been that way,” he said. “All across America, there is mistrust between the police and the African-American community. ... The witnesses don’t trust the police to protect them. The police can only do so much. They can’t have a squad car everywhere. The budget and the manpower won’t allow it. 

“More patrols are not going to stop the shootings. After the patrols drive away, there are still going to be old ladies and children here living in fear. They are the real victims.”

Anyone with information that could help police should call the department at 217-351-4545 or contact Champaign County Crimestoppers at 217-373-8477. Information may also be sent anonymously online at 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.

— Mary Schenk contributed to this report

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mee wrote on August 13, 2014 at 9:08 am

Let's bring this to western Champaign!

alabaster jones 71 wrote on August 13, 2014 at 10:08 am
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I hope it does spread over there, at least if it has to happen anywhere in town.  The look on your face from seeing gangbangers walk down your sterile little suburban street would be priceless!

In all seriousness though.....this has nothing to do with West Champaign, so please stop trying to make it about you.

If you really want to ensure that you never have to interact with black people, you can always move to Mahomet.

Speakerman11 wrote on August 13, 2014 at 1:08 pm

And this will accomplish what?  I would advise that it doesn't spread.  I would advise that it ends. 

Skepticity wrote on August 13, 2014 at 12:08 pm

The story notes that a home on N. Sixth Street with children inside was subjected to gunfire from a van.  The residents of the home were apparently African American, and the neighborhood is implied to be predominantly African American, with distrust of police noted with regard to the difficulty of gathering information.  The victims of previous shootings were African American. 

There is no mention in the article of gang bangers of any race, or that the alleged perpetrators were described as African American.  There is mention of "young people" with guns that no one in the community gave them.  What "young people?"

Who is shooting into homes, where do they come from that they find it acceptable to fire into residences, and why would a distrust of police stop someone from giving information to police so they can have a safer neighborhood?  If information can prevent a child or other innocent from being shot in their home, why not speak up? 

The story suggests that people in the neighborhood will accept random bullets rather than oppose the violence by reporting to police.  The story implies that they know the people doing the shooting, but won't identify them due to fear of those shooters they know. 


Regarding earlier comments, what does living in a different part of town have to do with anything in the story, and why should the residents in a different area be subjected to the terror of "gang bangers" walking down the street? 

The shooting is not confined to just one neighborhood.  Vehicle to vehicle shooting has already occurred.  No one is safe just because they don't have a home on Sixth Street. 

All residents of C-U need to stand in opposition to these public shootings. 





rsp wrote on August 13, 2014 at 6:08 pm

I'm amazed you figured out my neighbor is African-American! Are you trying to suggest this is an "African-American" thing going on here? If you go to someone for help and it hurts you you learn not to do that. There are historical problems that will not be fixed in a day a week a year.

Skepticity wrote on August 14, 2014 at 12:08 am

Please contain your amazement and sarcasm.

The victims were identified as African American.  The shooters have not been identified as anything but young, and having guns that no one in the neighborhood gave them. 

Since you identify yourself as a neighbor, you must live in the neighborhood.

If you have information regarding the identities of those who are shooting, please step up and call police or Crime Stoppers anonymously.  You could save a life by doing the right thing.