Time to step up
Champaign police aren't getting much help in their effort to investigate a homicide.
About 10:20 p.m. on the Fourth of July, a 20-year-old Champaign woman was shot and killed in Champaign's Garden Hills neighborhood.
Authorities have yet to make an arrest in connection with the shooting of Desirae E. Austin, and they probably won't until a witness comes forward to tell police what happened.
"There were people who were outside at the time. There were people who saw this," said Assistant Police Chief Troy Daniels.
So far, none of those witnesses has come forward, even though police have publicly sought their help.
No one should underestimate the importance of this matter.
A young woman, visiting friends in the neighborhood, was shot and killed at the intersection of Cruising Lane and Thornton Drive. All the details have yet to be revealed, but enough is known to describe what happened — and is continuing to happen — as an outrage.
Some members of the minority community have had a long and difficult relationship with law enforcement generally and Champaign police particularly. But if they want to have law-enforcement officers working in a respectful manner to protect them and their neighborhoods, they have an obligation to help officers do their jobs.
This young woman, like all young people, had a lot to live for. Now her hopes and dreams can never be fulfilled.
The individual responsible for Ms. Austin's death must be held accountable. Equally important, the residents of the neighborhood where the shooting took place have to let the bad actors know that their misconduct won't be tolerated.
The memory of Desirae Austin cries out for a semblance of justice, and this community can ill afford not to answer the call.