Champaign police remain on high alert in the wake of four different instances of gunfire in less than two days on the city's north side that police believe could be gang-related.
CHAMPAIGN — Champaign police remain on high alert in the wake of four different instances of gunfire in less than two days on the city's north side that police believe could be gang-related.
As many as six men have been wounded in two of the four shootings — three men on Friday night and three on Saturday night.
The latest shooting occurred at 7:55 p.m. Saturday in the 1200 block of West Bradley Avenue, just three blocks north of where the first shooting was reported about 1:15 p.m. Friday.
Several police officers were combing the area for suspects and collecting evidence.
Police spokeswoman Rene Dunn said preliminary reports were that three men were shot by a man who approached on foot as they were outside. He also fired shots in the air and then ran away.
Two of the men were transported to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana - one with nonlife-threatening injuries and the other with more serious injuries. However, he was alive and breathing as he was being taken away, Dunn said.
A third man who was hit was not transported to the hospital but was going to seek medical attention on his own, Dunn said.
"This is very serious. We're only lucky some kid has not been killed at this stage. Bullets go through walls and strike people in their homes. We are going to use every resource we have to stop this immediately and incarcerate as many of them as we possibly can," said Champaign Deputy Chief Troy Daniels.
His comments came Saturday afternoon following a report of shots fired about 12:10 p.m. in the 1300 block of North Hickory Street. No one was injured in that shooting which involved four or five men in their late teens or early 20s firing multiple shots from a blue Chrysler 300.
The car was last seen heading west on Arcadia toward Neil Street.
"We are very concerned about the recent acts of gun violence and hope that the community will assist us by either providing information ... or reaching out to any suspects involved in any of these shootings," he said. "We are using all of our resources to locate these suspects and will use every legal means to stop and arrest those involved. We are aware that these are two groups of males involved in a gang dispute."
About 7:30 p.m. Friday, three 19-year-old Champaign men were hit by gunfire as they walked in the 400 block of East Washington Street. The shots came from a passing car that may have been a silver Nissan Murano or Chrysler Pacifica, Daniels said.
They were taken to Carle for treatment of what were described as nonlife-threatening injuries but police would not release their names so that their conditions could be checked.
That shooting came about six hours after another in the area of Mimosa and Alagna drives.
About 1:15 p.m. Friday, police found a red car in the 1100 block of Mimosa Drive with the back seat window on the driver's side blown out. They also found several shell casings from different guns.
They learned from witnesses that those shots may have come from a maroon pickup truck that looks like a 1990s work truck that had filler putty on the side near the bottom, Daniels said. Although two men were taken to the police station and questioned shortly after that shooting, no one was arrested. A second car around the corner in the 900 block of Ada was also hit by gunfire but it was not the apparent target of the shooters, Daniels said.
Daniels said police are working on all of these shootings.
"The quickest way to get all of our resources aimed at you is to pick up a gun and fire in a neighborhood where kids can be hurt," he said, reminding that Crimestoppers will pay "a lot of money, up to $1,000" for information leading to an arrest.
If you have any information regarding who may be responsible for these shootings, call Champaign police at 351-4545 or Champaign County Crimestoppers at 373-8477. Information may also be sent anonymously online at http://www.373tips.com  or by cellphone text message by sending CCTIP plus the information to CRIMES (274637).
It was just 11 months ago that a dispute between members of the Gangster Disciples and the Black P Stones in the Garden Hills subdivision resulted in the fatal shooting of an innocent bystander.
Anthony Meads, 21, of Champaign, was convicted last month of the July 4, 2012, murder of Desirae Austin, 20, of Champaign. She was hit with a single bullet as she stood near the intersection of Thornton Drive and Cruising Lane not long after the fireworks display at Parkland College had ended.
Meads is scheduled to be sentenced later this month while co-defendant Treshaun Jake, 19, who listed addresses in both Danville and Urbana, is set to be tried July 8.