News Local/State

Five People Shot, One Killed, After Shooting Near U Of I Campus

The scene in the 300 block of East Green Street around 1 a.m. Sunday.

The scene in the 300 block of East Green Street around 1 a.m. Sunday. Sean Neumann/Illinois Public Media

Authorities say five people were shot, one of them fatally, in two separate overnight shootings within minutes of each other overnight near the University of Illinois campus. Police say in a news release that they believe the two shootings may be related. They say the first apparently stemmed from an argument at an apartment party shortly after midnight.

It escalated into a fight outside in which shots were fired, striking four people. The incident occured on the 300 block of East Green Street in Champaign. 

One of the four, George Korchev, 22, of Mundelein, was killed. Police say he wasn't involved in the fight and happened to be walking by when the shots were fired. The other three were taken to a hospital for treatment of what police called non-critical gunshot wounds.

Less than half an hour later, police received a report of another shooting. Officers found a victim, who was taken to a hospital and treated for a non-critical wound.

Police are searching for a suspect or suspects in the shootings and for the driver of a vehicle that struck someone who was running away from the gunfire at the first scene. That person's injuries were minor.

University of Illinois spokeswoman Robin Kaler says Korchev was not a student. According to the News-Gazette, Korchev was pronounced dead at 1:02 a.m. at Carle Foundation Hospital.

In a mass e-mail to campus, University of Illinois Chief of Police Jeff Christensen said police continue to look for those involved, as well as the driver of the vehicle. The Champaign Police Department is leading the investigation, and the University of Illinois Police Department, Champaign County Sheriff’s Department and Champaign County Coroner are assisting to process the scene, review security camera footage and interview potential witnesses.

Anyone who was at the party or who may have witnessed any of these incidents is urged to contact the Champaign Police Investigations Division at or 217-351-4545.

Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen posted a message on Twitter Sunday morning:

"On behalf of the City of Champaign, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family of George Korchev, and the other innocent victims of the tragic shootings earlier this morning," she said. "This type of senseless gun violence is unacceptable in our community. The Champaign Police Department, University of Illinois Police Department, and other local law enforcement agencies are aggressively pursuing all leads in this ongoing investigation." 

The new chancellor of the University of Illinois Urbana campus also extended his sympathies, along with assurances that efforts were underway to maintain safety.

"We can all understand the grief and shock of those who knew the young mankilled last night and the pain and fear of the others who were injured," wrote Chancellor Robert L. Jones in a mass e-mail to campus. Jones invited anyone who feel the need for counseling support to call the Crisis Line at 217-359-4141, or contact the Student Assistance Center during the week at 217-333-0050.

The U of I Student Senate is organizing a public candelight vigil to remember the victims of the shootings, on Tuesday, Sept. 27th at 7 PM on the Anniversary Plaza portion of the Main Quad, just south of the Illini Union.

(Updated 9/25/16 3:10 P.M.)