CHAMPAIGN — It’s been more than two years since three young women were injured by gunfire after the last boys’ basketball game in Champaign between the Danville High School Vikings and the Champaign Central Maroons.
Despite many hours of investigation by both Champaign and Danville police detectives, no arrests have been made.
“We’ve identified people of interest; however, no charges have been filed,” said Champaign police detective Sgt. Dave Griffet, echoing a familiar refrain in shooting investigations.
The Vikings and Maroons were back at it Wednesday night at Combes Gym. There was a noticeable police presence — not an unusual sight since the 2017 incident — for a game that tipped off earlier than usual.
Despite scores of people rushing out of Combes Gym when the shots rang out about 9:20 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, police have been unable to find anyone willing or able to tell them enough to effect an arrest.
The victims were all females: a 15-year-old from Danville, a 17-year-old from Champaign and an 18-year-old Parkland College student. All were treated and released.
In addition to the shots that hit them, bullets also hit the window of a first-floor classroom and penetrated a parked car.
Shocking in its boldness, the violence prompted the cancellation or postponement of other games between the two schools, the shifting of some Unit 4 night sports events to Saturday mornings, the presence of floodlights to illuminate the dark, tree-filled neighborhood around the decades-old school, and of course, more police.
Assistant Principal Bryan Yacko, who was publicly lauded for his heroism in running toward the shots and possibly preventing more injuries by keeping people inside the building, is still at the school.
Central prevailed in what was described as a contentious game that night. The sides met again without incident on Feb. 8, 2019, in Danville, with the Vikings winning 68-65.