URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Another person has been charged in connection to shots being fired near Booker T. Washington STEM Academy in Champaign. This time, it’s an 11-year-old boy.
Five people were arrested in September in connection to shots being fired near the school on Sept. 14. Police said the gunfire started about a block away at Eads and Romine Streets in Urbana.
Four of those people were arrested and charged in the two weeks after the shots-fired incident. Now, a month-and-a-half later, the fifth has been charged with unlawful possession of firearms.
Julia Rietz, the Champaign County State’s Attorney, explained more about the timeline and investigation that led to the 11-year-old’s arrest.
“This is a significantly young offender in a very serious gun charge,” she said.
Urbana Police said two groups were shooting at each other near Eads and Romine Streets. Rietz said other teenagers involved told the boy to take a backpack and run. He listened, but then police searched the bag.
“We’re talking about close to 400 rounds of ammunition and two firearms in a backpack,” Rietz said. “That is a heavy backpack.”
The 11-year-old was arrested, but Rietz said he could not be held in a juvenile detention center. Under Illinois law, no one under the age of 13 can be detained.
So, why is it happening a month and a half after the incident? Rietz said it took time to locate the boy.
Now, the goal is rehabilitation.
“The focus here really is on moving forward and trying to ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future,” Rietz said.
The charge against the boy is a Class 4 felony. If convicted, he faces up to three years in the Department of Juvenile Justice. On the other hand, he could be sentenced to probation.
The 11-year-old isn’t the only one involved in the shots-fired incident near Booker T. Washington. The others arrested are between ages 15 and 18.
Rietz said the fact so many teens were involved is concerning. She said two of them have been charged for their involvement and one has been sentenced to the Department of Juvenile Justice.