Tracy Parsons with the City of Champaign discusses goals of the CU Fresh Start Program with reporters, along with Mayor Deb Feinen, Rev. Ricky Parks, and Urbana Police Chief Pat Connolly.
Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media
October 07, 2016

C-U Anti-Violence Initiative Holds First 'Call-In'

Community leaders in Champaign-Urbana have been working on the CU Fresh Start approach to gun violence for nearly a year. Thursday marked the program's 'Call-In', giving offenders with a background tied to gun crime a chance to connect to community resources and reform their lives. "We recognize that we can't arrest our way out of this problem," says Urbana Police Chief Pat Connolly.

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Dallas police detain a driver after several police officers were shot in downtown Dallas, Thursday, July 7, 2016. Snipers apparently shot police officers during protests and some of the officers are dead, the city's police chief said in a statem
LM Otero/Associated Press
July 08, 2016

Dallas Police Chief Says Shooting Suspect Was Upset Over Police Shootings

Dallas Police Chief David Brown says a suspect in the overnight attack that killed five police officers, wounded seven others and wounded two civilians said he was upset over the recent police shootings of black men and wanted to kill white people. The suspect who died in a parking garage has been identified as Micah Xavior Johnson.

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August 01, 2014

Third Suspect Arrested in Redding Murder

A third suspect in the Allen Redding murder was arrested Thursday in Arkansas.

Champaign Police report that Micah J. Hopkins, 30, of Champaign, was taken into custody Thursday afternoon in Blytheville, Arkansas. U.S Marshals were assisted by Blytheville Police in making the arrested. Blytheville Police also picked up two people for questioning.

Police have already arrested Devon Craig, who is charged with Redding's murder, and his brother Paul Craig, who faces charges including unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon and aggravated intimidation of a witness. Markeeta McFarland was arrested earlier this week on the intimidation charge. All three are from Champaign.

Champaign Police Lieutenant Robert Rea said in a new release that investigators are making progress in the case, with helps from other law enforcement agencies and tips from the public. "However, we still need the public's help", said Rea.

Anyone with information on the Redding murder is asked to contact Champaign Police at (217) 351-4545. Information can be sent anonymously to Champaign County Crime Stoppers at (217) 373-8477 (TIPS) or online at, or by texting keyword "CCTIP" plus the information to 274637 (CRIMES).

July 09, 2014

Gov. Quinn Prepared To Send State Police To Address Chicago Violence

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is willing to provide back-up for the Chicago Police Department. More than 50 people were shot in Chicago over the long holiday weekend.  

Quinn said he is prepared to send the Illinois State Police to help address Chicago’s violence, but only if Mayor Rahm Emanuel asks for them.

“We are always ready to help in whatever district the city may request," Quinn said. "We’ve done that in many, many districts and I’m prepared to help the mayor and the police chief if they request it, wherever they need it.”

Quinn said the state police patrol the Metro East region on weekends, around East Saint Louis in Southern Illinois.

Police investigate the scene of a shooting at 75th Street and Stewart Avenue on Saturday in Chicago. At least 50 people were shot in the city, nine of them fatally, in a wave of violence over the Fourth of July weekend.
(E. Jason Wambsgans/MCT /Landov)
July 07, 2014

More Than 50 People Were Shot In Chicago Over The Holiday Weekend

At least 50 people were shot in Chicago, 12 of them fatally, in a wave of violence over the long Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The Chicago Tribune called it "the greatest burst of gun violence Chicago has seen this year."

The numbers came from The Associated Press. The Tribune had higher numbers and included shootings from late Thursday.

The newspaper said that from Thursday night into Friday, three people were killed and 10 wounded; from Friday afternoon into Saturday, 20 people were shot, one fatally; from Saturday night into Sunday morning, four people were killed and 10 wounded; and from 2:30 p.m. Sunday to 3:30 a.m. Monday, four people were killed and at least 26 more wounded.

Nearly all, the Chicago Sun-Times notes, were black or Hispanic men age 35 or younger.

Police shot five people, two of whom were killed. The two dead were teenagers, 14 and 16. Police said both teens, who were shot in separate incidents 24 hours apart, were armed.

NPR's Cheryl Corley, reporting on All Things Considered, quoted Chicago police Supt. Garry McCarthy as saying his department had a plan prior to the holiday weekend that included putting hundreds more officers on the city's streets.

"And what were the results? A lot of shootings and a lot of murders, unfortunately," McCarthy said at a news conference.

He blamed the proliferation of illegal guns in the city for the violence.

"There's too many guns coming in and too little punishment going out," he said.

The Sun-Times reports that while homicides are at their lowest levels since the 1960s, shootings have increased since last year.

Indeed, as our former blogger Mark Memmott noted in April, a weekend of violence in that month left 45 people shot. A month later, NPR's David Schaper witnessed a shooting on Chicago's South Side while he was interviewing a real estate professional for a story on her community's effort to mobilize for positive change.


June 15, 2014

Police: 2 Dead, 1 Injured in Dwight Shooting

Police say that two people are dead and another is injured after a shooting in a home Saturday morning in Dwight, on the Livingston-Grundy County line.  

The Dwight Police Department in a news conference on Saturday said that a man who was shot called authorities who arrived at 4:30 a.m. Police arrived on the scene to find two women dead and the man lying on the floor.  

The Bloomington Pantagraph has reported that no arrests have been made. The man has undergone surgery.  

Police did not identify the three individuals and could not confirm whether all three lived at the house.  

Police Chief Tim Henson says authorities will not "let any stone go unturned'' as they investigate.  

Anyone with information has been asked to call the Dwight police department at 815-584-3132. 

President Obama listens to a question read by Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp during a Tumblr forum Tuesday.
(Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
June 11, 2014

Obama: Country Needs To Do Some 'Soul Searching' On Gun Control

Just hours after another school shooting left two dead and one injured, President Obama was asked what he's going to do about these kinds of incidents.

"The country has to do some soul searching about this," Obama said. "This is becoming the norm, and we take it for granted in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me."

Obama went on for about seven minutes. He was talking during an education-focused question-and-answer session with David Karp, the founder of the microblogging site Tumblr. He said the core of the issue is not mental health, but ready access to guns and large caches of ammunition. He said Washington should be "ashamed" of its inability to pass gun control legislation.

Here's full audio of his answer:

Update at 5:46 p.m. ET. Some Background:

President Obama tried to pass gun control legislation after the shootings at Newtown, which left 20 children and 6 adults dead.

He made it a central part of his 2013 State of the Union address. But, ultimately, even a watered-down version of the initial bill failed to become law.

As our friend at It's All Politics Frank James put it, the failure was a "stinging blow" to Obama's second-term agenda.

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