Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

As you have probably heard by now, what began last night as a confrontation between two individuals at a party several blocks from the edge of campus escalated into gunfire that took the life of a visitor to the community. Several others, including a student and a staff member, were injured. Authorities are still searching for the shooter. As the incidents were not on the campus, the Champaign Police Department is leading the investigation.

Champaign Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen and I have communicated and she has made it clear that the safety of the entire community is the top priority and that the investigation is proceeding with assistance from officers from Urbana, Champaign County and our own University of Illinois Police Department (UIPD).

If you feel you need immediate counseling support you can call the Crisis Line at 217-359-4141. The Student Assistance Center (217-333-0050) will also have professional staff available beginning Monday morning for students and staff who want to talk to someone. And the Illinois Student Senate will hold a public vigil on Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m. on Anniversary Plaza south of the Illini Union in support of the victims.

The UIPD sent a message this morning ( with information detailing what authorities know regarding the timeline and locations of events and asking for any information community members can provide to help identify and arrest those responsible. I encourage you all to read it if you have not. Incidents like these often give birth to rumors and misinformation that make it more difficult for authorities to solve these crimes and more difficult for the community affected to begin to heal in the aftermath.

And today we need to come together to help those who have been harmed to start that healing.

A life has been taken. Four others have had their own forever changed. The families and friends who know them are shaken. None of these victims was even involved in the incident or attended the party that started it all. They were bystanders caught in a senseless act of violence.

We can all understand the grief and shock of those who knew the young man killed last night and the pain and fear of the others who were injured. We can offer them our support, our sympathy and our compassion.

I ask all of us to be there for those in our family who need us on sad days like this one.

Robert J. Jones

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