CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A grandfather is one of many putting out a plea for peace after recent gun violence.
Community members gathered today to talk about gun violence in Champaign County. The families of both those involved and those effected by it spoke out for help.
They’re calling it a community crisis. And these families are asking the people committing crimes … to put the guns down and turn themselves in.
One of the six men wanted for gang affiliation, Shamario Brown was placed in police custody Monday afternoon. He was arrested by US Marshals in Plano, Illinois.
Robert Brown was inside his bedroom when bullets riddled his Urbana home.
“My house was shot up, there wasn’t a thing in the world i could do but lay on that floor and hoping and praying my babies would be safe.”
“All of my kids including myself could have been killed.”
He says for him it’s personal. He is Shamario Brown’s grandfather.
“I can’t say Shamario is behind this, I can’t say Shamario is the cause of this.”
Monday afternoon Brown was arrested hours after we talked to his family. He’s one of the six men Champaign Police believes has gang affiliation.
“I want them to turn themselves in, I want them to face what they’re up against I feel if they turn themselves into authorities they can get past this and we can all live in this community harmoniously.”
Samantha Carter is a community activist. She says seeing the men’s faces and hearing about the violence is keeping her up at night.
“There’s been too much blood shed.”
There have been more than a dozen shootings in Champaign-Urbana in the last month. And Carter says it has to stop. Jeanette Ellerbe has faced the effects of gun violence head on.
“She was a young lady that never hardly went anywhere a lady that never bothered anyone and her friend talked her into to going to the store and she never returned.”
Ericka Cox Bailey was shot to death near McKinley Avenue in 2016. Ellerbe — her aunt says there’s two sides to the problem.
“Your hurting families you grew up with, your brothers and sister are committing genocide on your own race.”
Brown says seeing the damage done to his home was bad enough. But knowing whoever did this was targeting him leaves him speechless.
“While I’m praying for you you’re contemplating on taking my life. I don’t understand, I don’t understand.”
Dublin Street Church of Christ in Urbana is planning an event for this weekend. It will be for parents and church leaders to meet and discuss the issue.
Police arrested Qwantrell Ayres last week. He’s accused of leading police on a chase through Champaign County before he crashed near Homer. He’s wanted for possession of a controlled substance.