'Give us peace within so we can have peace with each other'

'Give us peace within so we can have peace with each other'

CHAMPAIGN — Police have few leads to go on as they investigate their fifth fatal shooting of 2018.

David Sankey, 16, died about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana from a gunshot wound to the head, just two hours after the shots rang out in the north Champaign neighborhood where he lived.

On Wednesday night, more than 100 people attended a memorial in front of 1802 Garden Hills Drive, where candles were lit on the sidewalk in a heart-shaped arrangement with "David" spelled out.

Family and friends joined hands, some of them crying, others calling out for witnesses to come forward and calling for an end to gun violence.

"This is getting to be like Chicago," said Davar Clemens, who was in the crowd.

Neighbor Karla Van Clief said: "I feel for him. I wish the violence would end."

The Rev. Lekevie Johnson addressed the gathering: "Pray for healing. Enough is enough. Give us peace within so we can have peace with each other."

The night before, Champaign Deputy Police Chief Dave Shaffer said, patrol officers arrived shortly after 8:30 and administered first aid in an ultimately futile attempt to save Mr. Sankey.

"In terms of how many shots were fired, we've had varied reports, but all said 'several,'" Shaffer said.

An autopsy for Mr. Sankey is set for today.

Police don't have much information to release on whether there were witnesses or what kind of gun might have been used. He said they've been in contact with Mr. Sankey's mother, but Shaffer said he didn't know why Mr. Sankey was outside at 8:30 p.m.

"It's a warm night, and I believe there's likely people who know what happened and were present, and those are the people we're appealing to come talk to us about this," he said. "Right now, we're not getting a lot of information."

Mr. Sankey was a READY student and a former Champaign Central High School student.

In a letter sent to Central parents Wednesday, Principal Joe Williams said the district's crisis team is available for students and urged parents to monitor how their children respond to the news.

"David's death will impact our students, staff and community, and our thoughts are with David's family in this difficult time," Williams wrote. "Today, and in the coming days, our crisis team, consisting of both district and school personnel, will be meeting with students and staff who are affected by the loss of David. These individuals are trained mental health professionals and are available to talk with your child should your child need additional support at school."

Williams added that counselors would be available for students whose reactions "do not seem to improve over some time."

This weekend's Central-Centennial football game has been moved from Friday night to 8 a.m. Saturday in the aftermath of the shooting.

"Although there is no information to suggest a threat to the schools or school-related activities, and in an overabundance of caution," the game has been moved, Unit 4 and Champaign police said in a joint statement.

Friday night's scheduled grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony at Tommy Stewart Field also was moved back a day, to halftime of Saturday's game.

Staff writer Paul Wood contributed to this report.

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