WIU students: gun violence has no place here

Published: Mar. 26, 2023 at 9:18 PM CDT
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MACOMB (WGEM) - After police made an arrest on Sunday in connection to Saturday’s early morning house party shooting, Western Illinois University students are speaking out against the violence that took place.

Chazz Banks, a sophomore at WIU, said he was contemplating on whether or not to attend the party. Instead, he chose to stay in his dorm room at Thompson Hall.

“We’ve just really been saying how grateful that we didn’t go to the party and that we’re all still alive,” Banks said.

Banks said he wasn’t aware of the shooting that left one dead and 10 wounded, six of which were WIU students, until later that morning.

Banks woke up around 11:30 a.m. to dozens of text messages and phone calls from concerned family and friends.

“I got texts from a bunch of people, a few of my friends and then calls, asking me ‘am I okay am I okay’ and I’m just trying to figure out what like, of course I’m okay, I didn’t really do anything, I don’t feel sick or anything so I’m like why are they asking,” Banks said.

The same cannot be said for some of Banks’ friends.

He said he knew several students who were at the residence in the 500 block of North Johnson Street at the time when shots were fired.

“They’re a little bit traumatized by what happened and I’ve checked up on all of them,” Banks added.

This is the second shooting that has taken place near campus in Banks’ college career. In March of 2022, a fatal shooting happened on North Charles Street, two blocks west of Saturday’s shooting.

WIU freshman Yoanny Espinoza said she’s surprised that something like this happened in Macomb.

“It’s just something you wouldn’t expect, it was just kind of random,” Espinoza said.

Espinoza said she still feels safe at WIU.

“To me, it feels like a pretty safe campus, everybody’s really friendly, it was really shocking and really sad,” Espinoza said.

After Sunday’s arrest, a search warrant was conducted and more evidence was gathered.

Macomb School District Superintendent Patrick Twomey sent an email out to parents Sunday afternoon saying a couple students who attended the party were minors.

Twomey reported that none of the Macomb School District students were seriously injured.

Twomey said although this was an isolated incident, they plan to have additional police presence at the school on Monday.

Anyone with information should call the Macomb Police Department at 309-833-4505 or the Macomb Area Crime Stoppers at 309-836-3222.

Police said anyone with video of the incident should email it to citizenconcerns@macombpolice.com.

Macomb Police Department is holding a media conference at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 27.


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