Police seeking 15-year-old in Champaign eighth-grader's death


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CHAMPAIGN — Champaign police seek a 15-year-old boy they believe may have fired the gun that killed another teen in a northwest Champaign home last weekend.

Despite appearances that the fatal shooting of Elijha Booker, 14, and the wounding of a teen seated next to him may have been an accident, police have been unable to persuade the family of the 15-year-old to get him to talk to them.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz filed charges Thursday in juvenile court of involuntary manslaughter and unlawful use of weapons against the teen who allegedly fired the gun. Police have not released his name.

Police were called to the home in the 1600 block of Hedge Road about 1:30 a.m. and found Elijha unresponsive with a shot to his upper left chest. He was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana, at 2:07 a.m.

The autopsy on the youth revealed that the bullet entered below his left arm pit, traveled across his chest and exited on the right, hitting a 17-year-old boy who was on the couch next to him.

The 17-year-old who was hit also went to the hospital, where the bullet was removed from his chest, and he was released the same day.

Residents said Elijha Booker and the other wounded teen had come to the home to visit. Police have said only that there were "several" children and adults in the house.

The investigation continues.


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).