Editor’s note: This article originally listed Zaire Herman as being 21 years old, an age that was provided by the Champaign Police Department. Champaign Police have since corrected themselves to say Herman is actually 20 years old. This article has been updated accordingly.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A 20-year-old man has been arrested in connection to the city of Champaign’s first murder of 2023.

Champaign Police officials said the department’s investigation into the Jan. 5 shooting revealed that Zaire Herman was the person who shot 21-year-old Jalen Williams in the Garden Hills neighborhood. They determined that Herman and Williams were walking together on Garden Hills Drive when Herman opened fire, hitting Williams in the chest, and then ran away on foot. Williams later died at the hospital.

Herman was arrested on Wednesday for his suspected involvement in the murder. He is being held at the Campaign County Jail awaiting arraignment on murder charges.

Willie Comer, the Youth for Christ Executive Director, said arrests can happen faster when more people collaborate and work together.

“Police can’t make arrests if we’re not willing to be a community,” Comer said. “A part of a community is all of us. Police, fire department, citizens, all coming together to say ‘listen, we want a better place to live, we want a safer place to live.'”

He added that if someone finds a gun, or learns information important to the police, they should communicate that with them.

“We still got work to do. As we continue to come together, we continue to talk and communicate, and police and community continue to work together, I think we’ll be okay,” Comer added.

Although an arrest has been made in connection to Williams’ murder, the investigation is ongoing. Anyone who has additional information is asked to contact Champaign Police by calling 217-351-4545. Arrangements can be made for information to be shared privately.

Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can submit information to Champaign County Crime Stoppers. Information can be submitted to them using three communication methods: by phone (217-373-8477), online or through the P3 Tips app. Any tip that results in an arrest in a homicide case will be rewarded with $5,000 in cash.