After more than a month, authorities have made a breakthrough in the investigation of a horrific crime.
The arrests last week of two area men in connection with the July 4 shooting death of a Champaign woman is good news.
Authorities have charged Anthony Meads, a 20-year-old from Champaign, and Treshaun Jake, a 19-year-old from Danville, in the shooting death of Desirae Dearmond Austin.
This is a heinous crime, all the more intolerable because it was so utterly senseless.
Mrs. Austin, who was married and the mother of two young children, was killed after being caught in the crossfire between two rival groups in a north Champaign neighborhood. The incident occurred about 10:20 p.m. at Thornton Drive and Cruising Lane.
This shooting is more reflective of the kind of senseless carnage that takes the lives of so many young people in Chicago, but is rare here in Champaign-Urbana.
Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz attributed the shooting to "miscommunication, ego and rumor." In other words, the dispute really was about nothing.
That the individuals involved would engage in gunplay over such trivia is difficult to fathom. That an innocent bystander would lose her life because of it is beyond sickening.
Equally sad is the difficulty Champaign police have had in determining what happened and who was involved. That's because witnesses to the incident have declined to discuss what they saw with investigators.
Despite that, authorities said good police work by a pair of determined investigators — Robb Morris and Jaceson Yandell — was sufficient to produce enough evidence to file charges.
Authorities said they are not certain whether more people will be charged in connection with this tragedy. But they said they still can use the assistance from those who might have seen something and not yet talked to the police. Witnesses can call Crimestoppers at 373-8477.
What occurred is a tragedy on many different levels. A life has been lost while other lives have been damaged — all for nothing.