CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – Champaign County’s first shooting victim of 2023 is recovering after he was shot twice Sunday morning, and sheriff’s deputies are asking for your help in solving the case.

Lieutenant Curtis Apperson with the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office confirmed deputies and Urbana Police were dispatched to Carle Foundation Hospital around 5 a.m., where a man was receiving treatment for “non-life-threatening” gunshot wounds to the abdomen and pelvic area. While Apperson said there were multiple calls for shots fired over the weekend, this was the first reported injury of the new year.

“I thought it was fireworks, but it sounded completely different than fireworks,” Christina Esteban-Rafael said.

What Esteban-Rafael heard was gunshots outside her home in the Dobbins Downs subdivision.

“Ever since I’ve lived in Champaign… I’ve heard gunshots, but nothing like on New Year’s,” she said. “A lot of people do shoot guns in the air, but to be an area like this, I don’t think that’s normal.”

Apperson said there’s a reason every law enforcement agency steps up patrols for New Year’s.

“Most members of the police department are aware that on New Year’s Eve night, there’s most likely going to be shots being fired,” Apperson said.

He said sometimes, it’s celebratory – but not always.

“Every New Year’s Day, they shoot off rounds in the sky,” Apperson said. “What goes up must come down, so that’s obviously a huge concern to any law enforcement member or anyone that lives in that area.”

Apperson said deputies found the shooting scene in the 1500 block of Kings Way. He believes the 30-year-old victim was celebrating the holiday with others.

“Obviously this was a gathering. This took place outside. There’s people who know who shot [him],” he said.

That’s why deputies are asking members of the public to share any information that may be relevant to this case. Apperson said friends of the victim drove him to the hospital, but while those individuals have been cooperative with deputies, they’ve been unable to help identify a suspect.

“With the public’s help… I think we can solve this a lot faster and easier,” Apperson said.

WCIA-3 crews spoke to one neighbor off-camera who said she has talked to the police, and she believes it started with an argument. Several houses down, Esteban-Rafael said she hasn’t heard any of the details, but it’s frightening to know it happened so close to home.

“Scares me. We could be out anywhere and get shot,” Esteban-Rafael said.

Apperson said he hasn’t received an update on the victim’s condition, but when deputies arrived to Carle, he was in stable condition.

If you have any information regarding this investigation, you can contact the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division at 217-384-1213. You can also submit an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers at 217-373-TIPS, or the P3 Tips mobile app.