Police: Illinois officer and suspect, 24, dies in shootout | Illinois Information
CHAMPAIGN, IL (AP) – A gunman killed a police officer in central Illinois and wounded another before being fatally shot during a gunfight at an apartment complex early Wednesday.
Officers went to the Champaign complex shortly after 3 a.m. in response to a domestic disturbance report and met the armed suspect, police said. An exchange of fire ensued in which both officers and the suspect were shot.
44-year-old police officer Chris Oberheim died of his wounds, the city’s chief of police, Anthony Cobb, said in a statement. The wounded officer was hospitalized in stable condition, the department said.
The Champaign suspect Darion Marquise Lafayette, 24, who was killed in the shooting was pronounced dead at the scene, the Champaign County medical examiner said. Autopsies on Oberheim and Lafayette are scheduled for Thursday.
Champaign County Court records show Lafayette had previously been arrested for domestic violence and drug possession, The (Champaign) News-Gazette reported.
The police did not publish the name of the wounded officer.
Champagne officers have been equipped with body cameras since 2017. These cameras are said to be activated when an officer responds to service calls or is involved in a law enforcement-related encounter, according to the department’s website.
The department did not immediately respond to requests from the Associated Press for more information about the shooting, including what was captured by officers’ body cameras.
Cobb said Oberheim went to the police in Champaign in 2008. Prior to that, he worked for the Decatur Police Department for seven years. Champaign is 200 kilometers southwest of Chicago.
“His sole purpose was to serve, protect and help with supplies before he was pointlessly shot at and killed,” the chief said.
Monticello Schools Superintendent Vic Zimmerman said in a statement that Oberheim had four daughters, including three who attend the district’s schools, and that he was deeply involved in their lives.
“Our thoughts and prayers go with his family at this difficult time,” said Zimmerman.
The News-Gazette reported that days earlier, Cobb feared a police shootout could take place as the city of around 85,000 people faces an increase in gun violence.
Oberheim is the third champagne policeman to be killed on duty. The other two were killed in 1913 and 1967, the newspaper reported.
Illinois State Police will be leading the investigation into the shooting with the assistance of Urbana Police Department, the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office and the University of Illinois Police Department, Champaign police said.
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