Gang violence is spilling out of Chicago in a big way. Champaign, home of the University of Illinois, saw eight people shot this past weekend. In nearby Rantoul, three consecutive days of gang violence have left that city reeling. This includes an 18-year-old shot while running from the police with a gun. The next day at a “vigil” for the dead perp, shots were fired. And then there was an armed barricade situation.
The common thread to all this: gangs.
RANTOUL, Ill. (WCIA) – Three days of crime have rocked the village of Rantoul. WCIA sat down with the mayor Friday to talk about public safety and charting a path forward in the wake of gunfire.
“I’ve never had three consecutive days like this before,” Rantoul Mayor Charles Smith said. “It’s a little unsettling.”
“It’s coming to light here that we’re no different than any other American city right now. Our citizens are armed,” Smith said.
Smith says that has never been more apparent since he first took on the role as mayor.
“It’s new. It’s brand new for a community this size,” he said.
Mayor, you need more armed good guys and fewer armed gang members.
Here’s the buddy of the dead 18-year-old who ran from police:
Meanwhile, 20-year-old Jheremia McKown faces several felony charges for his involvement in the events leading up to Wednesday’s shooting, including armed violence, unlawful possession with the intent to deliver cannabis, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and resisting a peace officer.
“Back at the car, Officer Wissel from Rantoul was fighting with Jheremia McKown,” Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said.
“And as we all know at this point, disobeyed officers’ commands and ended up being shot in the course of that chase by an officer,” Rietz said Friday during McKown’s arraignment.
While arguing for a bond of $2 million, she called McKown a danger to the community. In 2020, he was convicted of attempted armed robbery as a juvenile. He didn’t fire a gun that day, but turned up to the hospital with a bullet in his own leg.
Why wasn’t this guy in juvenile prison for attempted armed robbery? Kudos to Champaign Co. State’s Attorney Julia Reitz for trying to close the barn door with a high bail for this ne’er-do-well. Unfortunately, he’s likely been a one-man crime wave since that arrest in 2020.