CHAMPAIGN — Champaign police are practically begging people in the Garden Hills neighborhood who know something about the fatal shooting of a Champaign woman Wednesday night to tell them what they know.
"We believe that there were several people who were witnesses to this and we are asking them to come forward with information. We are confident there are others who could give a lot of details. If their relative was hurt, they would want someone to come forward with information and that’s we’re asking that neighborhood to do,” said Champaign Deputy Police Chief Troy Daniels.
Daniels declined to give details of what led up to the fatal shooting of Desirae E. Austin, 20, how many times she was shot, a possible motive, or even the sex of a suspect.
Mrs. Austin was found mortally wounded in the intersection of Thornton Drive and Cruising Lane about 10:20 p.m.
She was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital where she was pronounced dead in the emergency room at 11:10 p.m.
“Several people we’ve spoken to already,” Daniels said. “There is certain information out there we’ve not uncovered. We believe there were several people out at this intersection when this occurred about 10:20 p.m. right after the fireworks.”
Daniels said Mrs. Austin, who lived on North Fourth Street, was in that neighborhood because she knew people who lived there. Several folks were returning from the fireworks at Dodds Park, he said.
Daniels said Mrs. Austin’s death is a tragedy that goes well beyond her family.
“Any time someone is gunned down like this, the whole neighborhood is victimized. Every kid who knows someone lost their life in their block is traumatized. We are using all the resources we can to solve it. We had officers out all night and we’re continuing to process evidence and follow up on leads,” he said.
Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said Mrs. Austin’s husband is in the military in Alaska but that she has several relatives in Champaign.
An autopsy will be done, he said.
Police ask that anyone with information call the department at 351-4545 or Crimestoppers. Calls can be made anonymously to 217-373-8477 or web tips can be made by going to www.373tips.com  or by texting keyword CCTIP plus the information to 274637 (CRIMES).