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URBANA — Urbana police are investigating the apparent murder of a man late Thursday night in the parking lot of a liquor store.

Lt. Dave Symsor said the 24-year-old Urbana man was shot in the lower back about 11:30 p.m. as he walked out of B Spirits, 306 W. Main St., on the western edge of downtown Urbana.

Later Friday, Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup identified him as Victor I. Hunt and said he was pronounced dead at 3:23 a.m. that morning at Carle Foundation Hospital.

Police found more than 50 bullet casings of different calibers in the parking lot, suggesting there had been an exchange of gunfire.

“A gun was recovered, not on his person,” Smysor said of Mr. Hunt.

Police found a vehicle in the parking lot that they believe he had arrived in.

“It’s undetermined if he came alone or whether there were people waiting in the car,” he said. “Preliminarily, it appears that the shooter started to come inside, then the victim went outside.

“I don’t know whether it was to confront him, leave or some other reason, but it appears the victim went out there with a purpose.”

Mr. Hunt’s death marks the fourth fatal shooting in Urbana in 2021, a year in which shooting incidents have already eclipsed what the city experienced in all of 2020.

More than 55 shots-fired calls have been reported this year in Urbana, while there were 53 last year.

Anyone with information or video on this latest shooting is asked to contact Urbana police at 217-384-2320. Smysor said police have some video from inside the store but could use more from outside.

Callers can also remain anonymous by contacting Crime Stoppers at 217-373-8477 or 373tips.com or via the free “P3 Tips” app.

Reporter

Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).

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