A message from Police Chief Jeff Christensen:
Yesterday in a Champaign County court, Robbie M. Patton, 19, was convicted of first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated battery with a firearm in relation to a tragic incident which took place just more than a year ago several blocks from campus, where one visitor to our community was killed and three others were wounded. The conviction is, in large part, because of the diligent work of the Champaign Police Department and the Office of the Champaign County State’s Attorney.
While the news is reassuring that he will be held accountable for his actions, no punishment could ever alleviate the pain and suffering of those who were affected by this tragedy – especially the friends and family of George Korchev, a visitor to our community who was enjoying a night out with his friends when he was killed as the result of a senseless act of violence. We continue to extend our sincerest condolences to his loved ones and to the others who were hurt that night.
While instances of gun violence are exceedingly rare in areas near campus, the events of last September made it very clear that no place is immune. Area police agencies are continuing to work expeditiously to curtail violence in the greater Champaign-Urbana community, and a sharp decline in gun violence in recent years has been attributed to the work of the Street Crimes Task Force, a cooperative group comprised of officers from a number of local law enforcement agencies. You can read more about the work of the task force here: https://blogs.illinois.edu/view/6221/560902.
We are additionally hopeful about the prospect of C-U Fresh Start, a community-based program which is in its early stages and is designed to deal with the social issues associated with gun violence.
We will not forget the violence that shook our campus community that night, but we can move forward with reassurance that those responsible will be held accountable and with hope that similar acts of violence can be prevented. Once again, thank you for being an active participant in the safety of our campus community, and please continue to look out for each other.
Chief of Police
University of Illinois Police Department