String of violence in Champaign County has connections


CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) – We’re learning more about the Urbana shooting that killed a woman, and a house that was shot up in Rantoul.

There’s a connection between both crimes. We now know, one of the people arrested after a chase through Rantoul and Urbana is Patrick Briggs.

He’s the son of the woman who was murdered, in Urbana.

It started at a house in Rantoul near Autumn Fields Lane and Pheasant Ridge Dr. Someone shot the house several times.

A Champaign County Sheriff’s deputy saw a car from the scene going toward Urbana when it crashed.

That’s when police said 4 people ran from the car to Steak N’ Shake in Urbana. They tried to get into several cars sitting in the drive through. Police say they even pulled an elderly woman out of her car, but she resisted.

The 4 suspects then ran south and into the Urbana Country Club Golf course where they were arrested.

Police also found 3 guns during the chase.

The four people arrested were Patrick Briggs, Williams Laws, Teron Laws, and a 15-year-old.

Champaign County States Attorney Julia Rietz says all 4 people are related.

The murder in Urbana came hours before this. Police say the suspect, from that, was likely targeting Briggs.

Briggs’ mother Johanna Cowart-Williams was killed and his girlfriend was paralyzed.

Tom Bruno is a Champaign City Councilman. He says he doesn’t know what can be done to help.

“We never know how much worse it would be if we did nothing. So, we have to try something. If we save one person from destroying their life by killing another person, and save the receiving end of that from the horrible grief and life changing circumstances when someone in your family is murdered, that will all be a good thing. I don’t know how to do that. That’s the honest answer,” he said.

Bruno says he isn’t giving up and doesn’t think anyone should. He doesn’t know how to move forward right now.

Rietz says it’s likely whatever happened in Rantoul was retaliation to the shooting in Urbana.

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