CHAMPAIGN, Illinois – University of Illinois Police arrested two men Thursday afternoon after receiving a call about disruptive behavior on top of a parking garage and later observing the men attacking a third man on the sidewalk.
Officers’ attempts to detain the men lasted for several minutes. Officers were forced to use a Taser at one point because the men were aggressively resisting officers investigating the assault. No serious physical injuries were reported.
University Police initially were called at 12:09 p.m. Thursday to the C-7 parking garage, 517 E. John St., Champaign, by a witness who reported seeing a group of men discharging fire extinguishers and throwing them from the top level of the garage.
The first officer to arrive found that those men had moved down from the parking garage, and two men were now standing over a third man who had been knocked to the sidewalk at Sixth and John streets. A University Police telecommunicator accessed security camera footage and quickly learned that one man had held the victim in a chokehold while both of the offenders struck him several times.
The two offenders were aggressive with police officers who were attempting to investigate. One man, later identified as Drew J. Knight, 29, verbally threatened to kill the police officers and others in the area.
Officers spent several minutes speaking with Knight in an attempt to de-escalate the incident. Due to his physical resistance and repeated threats to harm others in the area, a University Police officer deployed a Taser to detain him. He was evaluated by medical staff on scene but required no further medical intervention.
The other offender, later identified as Zachary W. Overman, 29, continued to fight with police officers despite officers’ attempts at verbal de-escalation. Overman and the officers ended up in a physical struggle on the ground, and it took officers several minutes to place handcuffs on Overman because of his resistance. He was evaluated by medical staff on scene for a laceration but did not require further medical intervention. He continued to physically resist and spit on medical staff and police during the arrest and evaluation.
The victim, who is acquainted with both of the offenders and was with them prior to the assault, was taken to a local hospital for evaluation due to his level of intoxication.
All three people previously had been issued no-trespassing notices for U. of I. property due to prior illegal activity in the campus area.
Overman was arrested for aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, resisting a police officer and trespassing on state-supported property.
Knight was arrested for aggravated assault, aggravated battery, disorderly conduct, criminal damage to state-supported property, resisting a police officer and intimidation.
Several officers received minor lacerations during the incident but were not seriously injured.
Please note, those arrested are presumed innocent until proved guilty, and formal charges may change as cases are adjudicated.