Investigation Continues Into Latest Champaign Shooting Death
By Jim Meadows
The murder of a 22 year old man last weekend in Champaign is just the latest in a string of shootings in the city, and the second homicide in less than a month.
Champaign Police believe the person who shot and killed Rakim Vineyard Saturday in the Douglass Park area was someone he knew. In addition to killing Vineyard, the shooter also fired shots into three homes in the 1000 block of North Sixth Street. One bullet struck a 14-year-old boy inside one of the homes, but was traveling slow enough to cause only a superficial wound.
Police say witnesses saw an armed man leave the scene of the shooting, which occurred Saturday during the noon hour. The suspect is described as a black male, between 17 to 25 years old, approximately 5'9" tall and wearing a white shirt and blue jean shorts or pants.
While the investigation continues, Police Chief Anthony Cobb says many of the shootings occurring in the city this spring and summer seem to be connected to loosely organized gangs in which friends can quickly change to enemies, with violent results.
“We’ll hold people accountable for this incident”, said Cobb. “But are these shooting incidents over with? No, by no stretch of the imagination. There’s still conflict and there’s still things going on in our community. And there’s others. There’s some of these we know are not linked; some of them may be linked together. But there’s been enough of them (that) we know things will continue on, and that’s the problem.”
The death of Rakim Vineyard near Douglass Park came just 25 days after another fatal shooting in the Garden Hills neighborhood, which took the life of Allen Redding. Police have arrested two suspects in connection with that shooting, and are seeking a third.
Cobb says police have continued to receive reports of gunshots since the murder of Redding, and even since Vineyard’s murder last Saturday.
Cobb appeared with other Champaign city officials at the regular meeting of the United Garden Hills Neighborhood Association at Garden Hills Elementary School Monday evening. There, he urged residents to contact Champaign Police or Champaign County Crime Stoppers if they have information about any of the recent shootings.