Teenagers plead guilty in gun cases


CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign County State’s Attorney said several teenagers have pleaded guilty to gun charges in recent incidents.

First, State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said two juveniles, a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old, each pleaded guilty to aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. She said they did so for having guns in a car on July 8 in Urbana.

The two teenagers, along with 19-year-old Rodre Bailey-Ross and 18-year-old Printiss Turner, were stopped in a car by the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office on University Avenue and High Cross Road. Officers searched the car and found four guns, one in Turner’s pants and three others that were in reach of the other three teenagers.

One juvenile pleaded guilty to possession of a loaded Taurus G2c 9mm handgun while the other pleaded guilty to having a loaded SCCY CPX2 9mm gun. “Both were released from the detention center on home confinement orders pending sentencing hearings on August 12, 2020,” said Rietz. She also said neither had previous juvenile court records.

Additionally, Rietz said another teenager pleaded guilty to gun possession charges for having a leaded Smith and Wesson .45 caliber gun in a car on January 26.

An investigation into a shooting at the Marketplace Mall on January 25 led officers to a nearby Residence Inn where they found the 17-year-old with other people getting into a van. Rietz said officers found the gun under a backpack they had been carrying as well as 20 rounds of .45 caliber ammunition inside it. The teenager was arrested and then released from the detention center on February 20.

Rietz said she filed an additional petition for unlawful possession of firearms. This comes after a social media post from June or July allegedly showed the teenager with a Gen 4 Glock 21. She said that gun was found by Champaign Police on July 15 near 4th and Eureka during an investigation into shots fired and a shooting.

The state’s attorney said 18-year-old Omarion Purnell was charged in that case after he ran away from officers and dropped the gun in a barrel.

Because of this new petition, Rietz said the 17-year-old was given home confinement. Sentencing is expected to happen on August 24.

The state’s attorney released this information the same week the Champaign Police chief held a news conference addressing the significant increase in gun violence this year. So far in 2020, 27 people have been shot, that includes teenagers.

This is the kind of violence that groups like Hood Vision Neighborhood Transformation have been trying to prevent. They work with people, including teens, to invest in their lives and well-being and teach them that there is more to life than reckless violence.

“We have YouthBuild, the DREAM Program, Boyz2Men and all these different organizations that work with young people to help them get in better situations for employment and trade situations and help them with a path of being successful,” said Jobie Taylor, Hood Vision Neighborhood Transformation.

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