7 facing charges in 'chaotic situation' at Centennial that sent 1 to hospital

7 facing charges in 'chaotic situation' at Centennial that sent 1 to hospital

URBANA — Seven teens will be detained until at least May 3 in connection with a lunch-hour fight Friday outside Centennial High School that ended in an eighth youth being taken to the hospital.

Six of the teens detained were charged Monday in juvenile court while the seventh was charged in adult court because he's 18 years old.

All were identified as Centennial students from videos shot by others on their cellphones and posted on social media, according to Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz.

School officials helped police make the identifications, she said.

The six teens under age 18 appeared separately in court Monday. Two face charges of aggravated battery, and the other four are charged with both aggravated battery and mob action.

The fight — which actually evolved into several fights among the teens being detained — appeared to be linked to two gangs that have been a part of previous problem behavior at the high school, Rietz said.

A 10-second video that circulated on social media after the fight showed at least two teens squaring off and one of them falling and hitting his head against a brick wall while the other continued to punch him.

The youth who hit the wall was unconscious after school officials broke up the melee and called police. Other teens involved in the incident had run away before police arrived and were picked up later, Rietz said.

The injured youth was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital and is recovering, she said.

One of the teens, identified as an 11th-grade gang member, was said to have started the incident by texting a challenge to one of the other teens, Rietz said, and others joined in at various points.

"This was a very chaotic situation," she said.

Judge Heidi Ladd said it was necessary to keep each of the six teens in detention pending further hearings to protect others.

"It was a very dangerous and violent incident," she said.

The six charged in juvenile court are being represented by court-appointed attorneys, since their family members indicated they can't afford to hire attorneys on their own.

Ladd set the next court appearances for most of the teens for May 3.

The 18-year-old accused of taking part in the fight faces charges of aggravated battery and mob action in adult court. He was identified as Jack Ngo, and provided an address on the 900 block of Trailway Drive in Champaign.

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