CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The American Legion Post 559 is trying to separate itself from repeated gun violence that’s happened right outside their building.
This comes after 48-year-old Darin Mitchell was shot and killed outside the entrance Thursday night. As of Friday night, Champaign Police are still investigating the shooting.
This isn’t the first time someone has been killed in this area. Since 2007 three people have been shot and killed and several others hurt because of shootings outside the legion. Leaders at the Post say they don’t know why this is happening over and over again, but they’re desperate for the violence to stop.
Legion Vice President Robert Sallee says, “I’m sick and tired of gun violence. But right now the gun violence is out of control.”
These are the strong words spoken after Mitchell was shot and killed. On Thursday night they were having a block party in the parking lot.
Sallee says, “At nine o’clock it’s over.” But when the party ended, the violence started. Mitchell died after being shot in the stomach. He was taken to the hospital and rushed into surgery. But he died around 7:00 Friday morning. Police say it all started with an argument between him and another person.
Champaign Police Deputy Chief Troy Daniels says, “Right now we’re trying to determine what led to that confrontation and then why he ended up shooting the victim.”
So far they don’t have enough information and nobody has been arrested. It’s a familiar scene to the legion leaders. Sallee says, “When I got here I saw the tape around the building and I have seen that before.”
In March a man was shot and killed outside the legion. Nobody was ever arrested for that crime. In 2007 another man died in a shooting there.
Sallee says, “The American Legion does not condone these types of activities. But things happen. In the area there are people with guns in their pockets. There’s nothing we can do about that.”
Police spent all day interviewing people.
Deputy Chief Daniels says, “We still believe there were people who were there that we have not had the opportunity to speak with. We believe those people may have information we need to learn.”
They continue to ask people to speak up about what they know. The Legion is also asking people to talk, but this time, before the violence starts.
Sallee says, “Folks don’t talk to each other. We need to talk to each other and if there’s a problem that happened someplace else, let us know about it before it gets here.”
Police are pleading with people, if you know anything or saw anything, please contact them so they can figure out who did this. The number for the investigations division is 217-351-4545. Or you can call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 217-373-8477 (TIPS) or on the “P3 Tips” mobile app. You can also submit tips online at www.373tips.com