Family, friends hold vigil in spot where Champaign man fatally shot

Family, friends hold vigil in spot where Champaign man fatally shot

CHAMPAIGN — About 100 people turned out Thursday night on a north Champaign street to pay tribute to a man who was killed in a shooting there earlier this week.

Participants prayed, lit candles and sent hundreds of balloons into the air in the 700 block of North Hickory Street to honor Montrez Vonner, 34, of Champaign.

Mr. Vonner died just before 2 a.m. Sunday at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, a victim of multiple gunshot wounds.

Mr. Vonner's brother, Gaylend Allen-Davis, said it was important to honor him at the location where he was shot.

"A lot of family and friends came out today," Allen-Davis said. "He was a good guy; he loved his kids and he stayed out of trouble."

Barbara Ware of Champaign said she was good friends with Mr. Vonner and his mother.

"We are pretty much like family," she said. "He died senselessly. We want to make sure that people put these guns down and stop taking lives away. It is time this stops."

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Berto71 wrote on March 16, 2018 at 9:03 am

"He was a good guy; he loved his kids and he stayed out of trouble." Yeah, right. The guy had a long criminal history, including felony convictions for drug dealing, as the Champaign County Circuit Clerk record search shows.

 

There was a story in the News-Gazette about him in 20015 in relation to another murder:

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2015-07-22/two-charged-weapons-vi...

(But it appears, that the weapons charges related to that arrest were eventually dismissed).

That article says: 

"Court records show that Vonner has prior convictions for unlawful delivery of cannabis in 2008 and unlawful possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance from 2002 that qualify him to be charged as an armed habitual criminal. [...] He also has other convictions for robbery as a juvenile and resisting a peace officer and criminal trespass as an adult."

So not exactly someone who "stayed out of trouble". 

In any case, one has to hope that at least some of the about 100 people to came to the vigil will help police catch the killer or killers of Mr. Vonner. The original article about Mr. Vonner's murder indicates that the police were having a difficulty finding witnesses willing to provide information even though quite a few people were present when he was killed:

 

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2018-03-11/update-man-killed-3-ot...

"There was at least a small crowd out there. We need help. We're slowly churning things up. It would go quicker if people out there would start saying what they saw," Rath said.