Arrest warrant issued for suspect linked to Sunday’s shooting

Video surveillance of parking lot before initial shots were fired, provided by the City of Champaign

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Champaign Police Department determined that Champaign resident Robbie Patton, 18, is the prime suspect for Sunday's Green Street shooting.
Photo courtesy of Tammy Dodds
Champaign Police Department determined that Champaign resident Robbie Patton, 18, is the prime suspect for Sunday’s Green Street shooting.

The Champaign Police Department released the name of the primary suspect in the Sunday morning shooting that resulted in multiple victims and the death of George Korchev.

A press conference was held at the department headquarters on University Avenue on Wednesday morning to provide updates.

“Yesterday, after consultation with the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s office, an arrest warrant was issued for Robbie Patton, a male from Champaign, on the offense of first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm,” said Lt. Dave Shaffer with the Champaign Police Department.

Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said that the minimum sentence would be 45 years, and the maximum being 85 years.

Shaffer said that based on what they have right now in the investigation, they believe Patton is “armed and dangerous” and still in Champaign County.

“As of right now, we’re actively searching for him,” Shaffer said. “He is the sole focus of the investigation in regards to the shooting.”

In a related fight that took place before the shooting, someone was knocked unconscious. Shaffer said they cannot confirm if Patton fired in retaliation, though they believe the incidents are related.

“We do believe the fight has played a role in leading to the gunfire,” Shaffer said.

That victim was transported to the hospital that night and has been medically discharged. They are in cooperation with CPD. Shaffer said they are looking for those responsible for this assault as well.

CPD determined that a party was taking place in an apartment on 306 E. Green St. that resulted in an altercation that moved to a parking lot outside of the building. Shaffer said this resulted in multiple fights and “more serious altercations” in the lot.

A surveillance video was shown from the parking lot of Evergreen Tobacco that helped CPD determine a minimum of 100 people were on the scene of the initial fights. A group of females were involved in the original altercation.

“What we would ask to the people watching this,” Shaffer said. “If you are in this video, we would like to speak to you.”

Patton was put on parole Sept. 9 after being sentenced to eight years in prison for his involvement in a December 2015 shooting at the Steak and Shake in the 2100 block of North Prospect Avenue. No one was injured in the shooting and Patton and his partner Antonio Wright were both arrested 10 days after the incident. After initial rejection from boot camp as a substitution, Patton was sentenced to serve 85 percent of his term for six and a half years.

After serving 8 1/2 months of the eight-year prison sentence, Circuit Judge Tom Difanis and the Department of Corrections recommended Patton for boot camp in April. Patton had pleaded guilty to the weapons charge in the shooting at the Steak and Shake.

“Based on partially past record … and the fact that it was a shooting in the parking lot of a Steak and Shake in 5:30 p.m. in the afternoon, in a very public street in a very public space. We objected to bootcamp as that was not part of the initial agreement,” Rietz said.

University of Illinois Police Chief Jeff Christensen said that counseling resources began mobilizing right after the shooting, and that they are continuing to work with students who need a helping hand in dealing with this problem.

“It’s important that we support each other, help each other heal, make it loud and clear that we do not tolerate this type of violence in our community,” Christensen said. “This was very evident in last night’s student-led vigil.”

Reports of a second wave of gunfire were received at 1:08 a.m. the same night. The two incidents were originally thought to be related, but Champaign police spokeswoman LaEisha Meaderds said that they are skeptical.

“Initially, due to the proximity and timing of the State Street shooting, we could not rule out the possibility that the two shootings may be related,” Meaderds said. “However, as the Green Street investigation progressed, we have found no credible information at this time to confirm the incidents are related.”

In the State Street incident, a 25-year-old woman suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and was later discharged from the hospital. CPD says that there is no video surveillance of that incident and that they have received little to no cooperation in the investigation.

CPD is asking anyone with information on either shooting to contact the investigation division by phone at 217-351-4545 or email at [email protected]

Jessica Bursztynsky, Vivienne Henning, Lilly Mashayek and Aaron Navarro contributed to this article.