Latest: 4:45 pm, 9/28/16, Wednesday
CHAMPAIGN — Police are a little closer to answers about this weekend’s senseless act of violence.
They have a suspect. Officials say the man responsible for Sunday’s fatal shooting near UI is Robbie Patton.
They say he shot and killed George Korchev and hurt three others on Green Street. For now, the 18-year old is on the run.
Based on what authorities know, they have reason to believe Patton is still in the area, but they consider him armed and dangerous and the sole focus of this investigation.
UI students and members of the surrounding community might say the shooting near campus is too close to home. That phrase is taken more literally by some.
Sophomore Seth Gudmundson points to his roommates bedroom window where they watched a parking lot full of people turn into a crime scene.
“It was an overall pretty scary circumstance.”
His view is just a little different from the security camera on the side of his building where the problems started.
“This altercation from the apartment out into the parking lot on the west side of the building, that resulted in a fight, initially amongst a group of females, which branched off into more smaller, other serious altercations in the parking lot.”
Lt. Dave Shaffer says one man was beaten unconscious on the sidewalk near Green Street.
“This attack is believed to be a precursor to the shooting that occurred.”
Minutes later, the sound of gunfire cuts through the chatter and chaos ensues. Cautiously peaking through the blinds, Gudmundson sees two men on the ground.
Within 25 minutes, one man is dead and the gunman is nowhere to be found.
“There’s a lot of individuals looking for him as we speak.”
Three days later, Gudmundson says police knocked on his door once again. As the campus recovers from the traumatic morning, the sophomore hopes they get what they’re looking for.
“It makes me not want to go out when it’s late at night and it makes me want to stay in and avoid all the time outside at night, but hopefully, the police will find this guy and we won’t have to worry about it as much.”
This isn’t Patton’s first run-in with the law. In fact, he was convicted of another crime just a few months ago. He was sentenced to eight years, but was paroled three weeks ago.
He only served a fraction of his time because he successfully completed boot camp with the Illinois Department of Corrections. Patton was convicted of aggravated discharge of a firearm in April.
The charge stemmed from a shooting at Champaign’s Steak ‘n Shake, in December. No one was hurt in that incident.
IDOC officials say he came into the system as a first-time offender.
“He pleaded guilty to that offense and was sentenced to eight years in the Department of Corrections on April 21st of 2016. He’s currently on parole.”
Here’s why he was let out so early. Under Illinois law, he was eligible for boot camp because his sentence was eight years or less and it came with a judge’s recommendation.
IDOC screened him for boot camp and deemed him eligible. After completing it successfully, he was allowed to be paroled.
Police aren’t sure if Patton acted alone in this weekend’s shooting, but at this time, he’s their prime suspect.
Patton has already been in police custody once since his release earlier this month. He was released from boot camp on September 9. Two days later, he was arrested by UI police.
He was a passenger in a car stopped for not signaling a turn. Officers smelled marijuana when they approached the vehicle. When Patton was questioned, he gave a false name.
He was booked for obstructing justice by providing a false identity and later posted bond.
Update: 11:45 am, 9/28/16, Wednesday
CHAMPAIGN — Police are looking for the man they say pulled the trigger in Sunday’s fatal shooting near the UI campus.
Authorities have identified Robbie Patton, of Champaign, as the suspect in the Green Street shooting. The 18-year old faces charges of first degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm.
Patton is no stranger to police. He was arrested in December, for firing a gun at an area Steak ‘n Shake. He pleaded guilty in April and was sentenced to eight years, but only served eight-and-a-half months.
State’s Attorney Julia Rietz says Patton was paroled three weeks ago after doing some time in boot camp.
Police say he is the man who shot and killed George Korchev and beat another man unconscious in a parking
lot on Green Street. He has become the sole focus of this investigation. Officials say he’s probably not far away.
Detectives say the trouble started with a fight in an apartment building, but say they’re not sure what exactly motivated Patton to start shooting.
He faces 45 – 85 years for murder. This is very much an active investigation. Police are still asking people who were in the area that night to come forward.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers. You can remain anonymous and may earn a cash reward.
CHAMPAIGN — Police have announced the name of a man they’re searching for in connection to at least one shooting this weekend.
18-year old Robbie Patton is being sought on $5 million warrant for first degree murder and aggravated battery.