Praying for peace after deadly shooting


Champaign, Ill. (WCIA) —

“Our community is hurting. People are hurting. Death has taken place. We got to do something,” Pastor LeKevie Johnson said.

People are looking for answers after a shooting that killed two people, including a police officer. Investigators are looking at video, collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses after a deadly exchange of gunfire in Champaign.

24-year-old Darion Lafayette died at the scene. Champaign Officer Chris Oberheim died at the hospital. Another officer was hurt. Their name has not been released, but police said they were in stable condition this afternoon.

The scene unfolded overnight. Police were called to a domestic disturbance at Town Center Apartments off of North Neil. Police say Officer Oberheim and the other officer were met with an armed individual, and that’s when gunfire was exchanged. Police will not say who fired first.

“No more shootings. That’s what my call is. No more shootings. Put them down and let’s have some decent conversations. That’s what mature individuals do,” Pastor Johnson said.

That’s the call to action from faith leaders in Champaign. They gathered to pray, while investigators tried to piece together what happened outside of an apartment building. Two people were killed in an exchange of gunfire, including 24-year-old Darion Lafayette and 44-year-old police officer Chris Oberheim.

“He will always be remembered for his bravery and the oath of office he honorably upheld, to proudly serve citizens, community in which he loved,” Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb said.

Oberheim leaves behind his wife and four kids. Support for his family has poured in from all over.

“As a community we wrap our arms around his family, and his coworkers, and his fellow officers at CPD,” Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen said.

People in Champaign are heartbroken over what happened.

“Its a tragedy for our blues lives matter as well. We want that well known that we are praying for the police officers as well,” Jeannette Ellerbe, attended prayer, said.

This tragedy comes on the heels of rising gun violence in Champaign. She says it needs to stop. She’s afraid for her safety, and for her kids.

“It makes me emotional to think about our children out here. Shots being fired, unsafe, fearful,” Ellerbe said.

That’s why people of all backgrounds gathered to pray for peace.

“Its a pandemic, just like the coronavirus, and how they fought the coronavirus, we have to fight this pandemic too,” Maurice Hayes, Founder of HV Neighborhood, said.

While they hope their message is heard, families and friends are grieving the loss of their loved ones.

“All members of the Champaign Police Department are mourning the loss of our close friend and colleague, a beloved husband and father,” Chief Cobb said.

State police are in charge of the shooting investigation.

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