CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – A neighborhood woke up to gunfire Wednesday night. Champaign police are now investigating a shooting that sent a child to the hospital. As of Thursday afternoon, he was in critical condition.
Police found the victim on Sangamon Drive between Kenwood Road and Crescent Drive. But the shooting happened more than a mile away, near the corner of Dogwood Kimberly Drives.
“You don’t know what could happen at any time,” Kimberly Hosford said.
It was just past 10 p.m. when police responded to a shooting in Champaign. The victim – a 12-year-old boy.
“When innocent children are victims of this… it’s senseless,” Hosford said.
Police say he was riding in the backseat of a car with two others in front. The driver noticed someone following them, and wanted to know who it was. Eventually, they got behind the suspect’s car.
“At one point, the suspect vehicle stops. A male gets out of the vehicle and begins shooting at the vehicle as they continue driving past,” Champaign Police Lieutenant Ben Newell said.
That’s when the child was shot in the neck. The driver of the car he was in kept going for more than a mile.
“I believe they were fleeing the shooting and stopped when they believed it was safe to do so, and called 9-1-1 for the ambulance to respond there,” Newell said.
Hosford said the shooting happened right outside her door.
“I really wasn’t shocked by it. I know crime like this is on the rise everywhere,” she said.
But, she was disturbed to hear it happened to a child.
“It doesn’t happen as often as it potentially could with as many shootings as there has been,” Newell said.
I asked Lt. Newell how often he handles cases like this involving a child.
“These incidents are fewer… but they are significant when they do happen – anytime it would appear as though a child’s not being targeted so they would be a true victim in this circumstance,” Newell said.
Police said the 12 year old was the only person who was shot. Officers found several bullet holes on the victim’s car and damage to a house nearby.
“I have prayers for that child and that family. No parent should have to be going through what they’re going through right now. At all,” Hosford said.
No arrests have been made yet. Police are asking any homes or businesses between the scene of the shooting and where officers responded to share their surveillance video.