CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – Two senior citizens are recovering after they were shot Thursday afternoon, and their neighbors have questions. The biggest one: how could something like this happen?
It happened near Heritage Drive and Clayton Boulevard in Champaign.
A car with shattered windows was on the scene, and police said they found evidence of gunfire on several nearby houses. They blocked off the street for hours while the crime scene unit worked to piece together the unthinkable incident.
“This is a very quiet and safe neighborhood,” one neighbor said.
Whether they’ve lived in Champaign for three or 30 years, people on Heritage Drive say nothing like this has ever happened before.
“This is really random, like kind-of crazy,” they said.
A couple in their seventies was pulling into a driveway when police said a man approached them and started shooting.
“I was inside my condo unit and I heard gunshots – like a machine gun,” another neighbor said. She asked to remain anonymous.
It happened in broad daylight. Police responded to a call of shots fired at 2:20 in the afternoon.
“And then I came out to get my mail and all the cops came,” the neighbor said.
Police said both victims were still awake and talking to officers after they were shot. The shooter got away, and people nearby were shocked.
“It’s pretty disturbing, you know? The issue of it being so close is a little disturbing,” Chris McDonald said.
McDonald said the shots were quick.
“I’d just come back from a fishing trip and was putting my boat up to get it fixed for the day and stepped out front and heard several loud pops,” he said.
Other neighbors has similar stories, and they say it’s unusual for their calm neighborhood. I spoke with a woman who lives next door to the victims. She didn’t want us to show her face or share name, but she said the victims are nice people who’ve only lived there for a few weeks. She wasn’t home when the shooting happend, but she said she immediately worried about her neighbors’ safety when she returned to a crime scene. Now – she’s worried for her own safety – and she’s not alone.
“We have a baby that we just walk past this area with the stroller every day, twice a day, and this makes us feel very unsafe,” a neighbor said.
Not everyone was as surprised by the violence.
“We usually don’t see it this far but we’re seeing more and more of this over the years and it’s not uncommon to have windows open at night and listen to gunfire,” McDonald said.
Police said the 76-year-old male victim sustained non-life threatening injuries, and the 75-year-old female victim sustained potentially life-threatening injuries. As of about 5 p.m. Thursday, police said they were both in stable condition.
The investigation is ongoing and Champaign police are encouraging anyone with information or security footage to share it.