Police to step up Central presence as precaution

Police to step up Central presence as precaution

CHAMPAIGN — A "potential fight" could have been what sparked gunfire outside Champaign Central High School after a heated basketball game Friday night.

The incident sent three people to the hospital and hundreds of others scattering after the home team beat Danville before a large crowd inside Combes Gym.

Champaign police say the three female victims — a 15-year-old Danville student, a 17-year-old from Champaign and an 18-year-old Parkland College student — were treated and released on Saturday.

The "preliminary investigation suggests that as a basketball game ended at Central High School, a large group of individuals moved outside of the school for a potential fight," Champaign police spokeswoman LaEisha Meaderds said Saturday afternoon.

Police said they have no information to suggest there is a further threat to the school. Still, they'll have an increased presence at Central when school resumes Monday.

Authorities are still looking for whomever was responsible for firing shots near the corner of Lynn and University on the southeast side of the high school as fans were exiting, also hitting the school building and a parked car.

Police have not yet released a description of the shooter or shooters.

"This is the very beginning of the investigation," Champaign police Lt. Nate Rath said. "There were so many people out there to interview. We're working on trying to get some information out."

Unit 4 spokesman Emily Schmit, who joined Superintendent Susan Zola and Deputy Superintendent Laura Taylor at the high school to meet with Central administrators and police late Friday night, said there was no damage estimate as of Saturday. She said Unit 4 shared the Champaign police news release with parents and teachers.

At Saturday's 9 a.m. freshman boys' basketball game at Combes Gym, there was no hint of the chaos that played out 12 hours earlier.

"Everything's calm," said Central assistant boys' basketball coach Leconte Nix.

Unit 4 will offer counseling to students and staff at Central, where police will have an increased presence this week.

School board President Chris Kloeppel, who was out of town, said he was pleased with the response by school and district officials.

Danville senior basketball player Caleb Griffin said Friday's game had been intense, but "for someone to shoot bullets after the game is just crazy."

"We were in the locker room, and the coaches had just finished talking, and I went to get dressed and go out onto the court to talk to people, and they said 'No, we can't leave the locker room, there was just a shooting outside,'" he said.

"And originally, all we heard was that a girl got shot, so I called my mom, I called my best friend, I called a couple different girls just making sure all my friends were safe."

Only minutes before the shootings outside Central, a man was shot in his car in another part of Champaign, northwest of the school.

At 9:07 p.m. Friday in the 2000 block of Cynthia Drive, a 25-year old man was sitting in a vehicle when he was shot, police said. He was also taken to the local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

It's not yet known if the shootings are related, police said.

For more about the shooting: Central High student Elijah Wasson blogs about what he witnessed Friday night: https://steemit.com/news/@eliwasson/what-it-feels-like-to-be-shot-at-a-shooting-at-my-school.

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BruckJr wrote on December 10, 2017 at 7:12 am

"Police have not yet released a description of the shooter or shooters."

How often do we hear that story from Cobb?

GLG wrote on December 10, 2017 at 11:12 am

Those darn Irish,Amish!!

Shoot'em up wrote on December 10, 2017 at 2:12 pm

I'd like to know more about the Champaign PD putting out an officer safety warning that were possible 10-32 looking for 4 male black's from Danville after the shooting that went over the police scanner Friday night, they knews names and vehicle

jparks wrote on December 10, 2017 at 10:12 pm

"Unit 4 will offer counseling to students and staff at Central...."

Counseling?  Seriously?   Does this event shock anyone?  This is old news.  Our kids are used to it. 

If being caught with an illegal gun carried a mandatory 20 year prison sentence for the first offense, people, including our children, would soon get the message that criminal activity and the ensuing punishment that follows is something to take very seriously. 

Until then, more of the same.  Different day, same story. 

If you think this behavior is going to end anytime soon see the unrelated story on this site from December 8 titled "Champaign 17 year old gets year of probation for weapons offense".  It is at the bottom of the home page.