Police seek help in solving shooting
URBANA — Urbana Police Detective Dave Roesch is hoping that someone may have seen or heard something that could help authorities figure out who shot Jenyra Reeves in northwest Urbana late last month and why.
About 4:35 a.m., the 23-year-old homeless woman, recognized by many, was found on the sidewalk in front of the Hamilton on the Park housing complex near the corner of Eads and Wright streets.
She had been shot in the head, hit once by many of the bullets that went flying that morning.
"We're willing to release information because there are no eyewitnesses who have come forward in the three weeks since the shooting," said Roesch, the lead investigator on Reeves' case.
"We've canvassed the whole apartment complex and the houses that are in that area," he said, estimating that police have talked to 50 people but haven't found anyone who can shed much light on why she was shot.
"I don't think it was a random drive-by bullet. Our theory is she was the intended target but for no other reason than she was there outside that complex at that time," he said.
Roesch said police are familiar with Reeves but not in a notorious way.
"We know her name but from minor panhandling. She's definitely not associated with anything serious. She's not known to carry weapons or be involved with people who carry weapons," he said.
"Several people knew of her from being around the neighborhood and growing up. With her mental health conditions, there were some things that were clearly different about her but there was never any situations where she was involved in fights or not liked. She wasn't a gang member. The problems she had were all minor," he said.
Roesch said Reeves had been staying with folks on Ellis Drive for almost two weeks before the shooting and police have a good idea where she'd been the day before.
"The people we talked to said it was not uncommon for her to go outside and walk around late at night. They attributed that to the times she spent being homeless. A lot of homeless rest more during the day and stay up more at night. It sounds like she fell into that schedule," he said.
Unfortunately, it also means that hardly anyone was around when she was shot. A witness was able to tell police the area that he thought the shots came from, Roesch said.
And police have video from a nearby building that shows two cars speeding west into Champaign away from that area.
"It appears they are both red or maroon. We don't trust the lighting on the video. We just know they are cars," Roesch said, hoping that tidbit of information might prompt a tip.
Reeves has been unable to communicate since the shooting, and Roesch said he's been to Carle to visit her several times.
"We of course care about all our cases, but the innocent victim ones are the ones we'll go and see how she's doing, see the change in her appearance. That's something we want to do as investigators but also as caring individuals," he said.
"There are things she's able to do now that she wasn't able to do two-and-a-half weeks ago," Roesch said.
Still, the bullet that entered her left temple caused her to lose her left eye and has seriously compromised the vision in her right eye.
She may have blurred vision in it, he said. The injury to her brain, police said, will affect her memory, emotions, planning, and motivation throughout her life.
Anyone with information is asked to call the department at 217-384-2320. Callers may remain anonymous by calling Crimestoppers at 217-373-TIPS or by texting "CCTip" plus the information to CRIMES (274637).