CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – “I hope people will start loving one another instead of this,” Eleanor Daniels said.
Things haven’t felt the same since Daniels’ senior citizen neighbors were shot in the middle of the day. But she’s thankful police have arrested the people they think are responsible.
The shooting happened last month in the couple’s driveway near Heritage Drive and Clayton Boulevard in Champaign. Police say the 76-year-old man and 75-year-old woman have been released from the hospital, but they will have ongoing medical issues related to their injuries.
The suspects are 24-year-old Shamario Brown, 27-year-old Kenichi Townsend and 41-year-old Juvon Mays. Police said they’ve connected these men to two separate incidents, including the shooting.
Three suspects, two victims, one lockdown and a case of mistaken identity. Detectives have spent the last month piecing together a web of crime in Champaign-Urbana.
“It was a lot of good, diligent police work,” Lieutenant Ben Newell said.
It all started on September 8. A couple in their 70s was pulling into their driveway when police say two men approached them and opened fire in broad daylight. They say the suspects got away in a car driven by a third man.
“The whole town was here. Police, fire,” Daniels said.
Daniels lives across the street, and she heard it all.
“In fact, we thought it was my furnace that my son was working on. Then I realized it was the gunshots,” she said.
Neighbors wondered if was a random act of violence. Many on Heritage Drive were left to form their own theories on why it happened.
“It just kind of ate at me. The more I thought about it, the sadder I got,” Daniels said.
Now, police know why. Three men have been charged with attempted murder: Shamario Brown, Kenichi Townsend, and Juvon Mays. Newell said he believes they were targeting someone who drives a car similar to the victims’.
“The detectives that worked the case did an excellent job relating evidence from the scene,” Newell said.
The suspects may have gotten away after the shooting, but four days later, they were pulled over in Urbana.
“Officers initiated the traffic stop, the vehicle fled from them, it led to a foot pursuit,” Newell said.
The incident caused a soft lockdown at Urbana Middle and High Schools. Townsend and Mays were arrested that day and charged with gun-related crimes after running from police. But shamario brown?
“He was one of the individuals in the vehicle seen running from the vehicle. One of the officers who had prior knowledge and contact with him recognized him, and called him out by name as he was running away. He was not captured that day,” Newell said.
Police later found Brown in Northern Illinois. With the suspects behind bars, neighbors like Daniels feel relieved. But she’s not sure if she feels safer.
“I just pay attention to my surroundings and go on with life,” Daniels said.
Daniels said she makes sure to lock all her doors now. On the day of the shooting, other neighbors told us the gunfire sounded like it came from a machine gun. Newell said there is evidence that at least one of the handguns may have had a switch that turned it into an automatic weapon.