CHAMPAIGN — A suspect shot and killed one central Illinois police officer and wounded another during a shootout at an apartment complex early Wednesday in which the suspect was also killed, authorities said.
The Champaign officers went to the complex shortly after 3 a.m. in response to a report about a domestic disturbance and encountered the armed suspect upon arriving, police said. An exchange of gunfire followed in which both officers and the suspect were shot.
Officer Chris Oberheim, 44, died of his wounds, the city’s police chief, Anthony Cobb, said in a statement. The wounded officer was hospitalized in stable condition, the department said.
Police haven’t released certain details about the shootout, including the name of the wounded officer.
Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup identified the suspect as Darion M. Lafayette, 24, of Champaign, in a Wednesday afternoon press release.
Champaign officers were equipped with body cameras in 2017, and those cameras are activated when an officer responds to service calls or is engaged in any law enforcement-related encounter, according to the department’s website. The department didn’t immediately reply to Associated Press requests for further information about the shootout, including whether the officers’ body cameras captured it.
Cobb said Oberheim joined the police force in Champaign, a city of about 85,000 roughly 125 miles (201 kilometers) southwest of Chicago, in September 2008. Before that, he spent seven years on Decatur’s police force.
“His only intention was to serve, protect and help provide care before he was senselessly fired upon 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 very involved in their lives.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time,” Zimmerman said.
The News-Gazette reported that the shootout happened days after Cobb said he feared that a shooting involving police could happen because the city is dealing with an increase in gun violence.
Oberheim is the third Champaign police officer to be killed in the line of duty. The other two were killed in 1913 and 1967, the newspaper reported.
The Illinois State Police will lead the investigation into the shooting, with assistance from Urbana police, the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office and the University of Illinois Police Department, Champaign police said.