The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

Students Describe Off-Campus Shooting

Police+car+lights+in+night+time%2C+crime+scene%2C+night+patrolling+the+city.+Abstract+blurry+image.
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Police car lights in night time, crime scene, night patrolling the city. Abstract blurry image.

Two students were involved in a shooting off-campus at 6:57 p.m. Oct. 15. The students were traveling from an off-campus church function, to an on-campus one when the gunman opened fire. 

The Decaturian has identified and spoken with the victims. Due to concerns regarding the safety of the victims, the Decaturian is not releasing the men’s names. To protect their privacy, the quotes from the victims will only be identified as the passenger or the driver of the vehicle rather than the name of the individual. 

After leaving the off-campus function, the students attempted to make a left hand turn at the intersection of McKinley and Oakland. 

“When you look left there’s like a train overpass,” the passenger said, “So you only see about two to three seconds ahead.”

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The intersection of Oakland and McKinley has been an issue in Decatur for many years. According to WAND News, a 2020 accident involving a city bus injured four. In 2021, another individual was hospitalized from a vehicle vs. bicycle accident at the same location. 

Upon making their left hand turn, the students were almost t-boned. 

“We pulled out into what looked like there was nobody there,” the passenger said. 

After pulling out to make their turn, a vehicle appeared. The driver had seconds to react, so he quickly completed the turn. 

“We have a recurring joke that whenever [the driver] drives, we almost get into an accident,” the passenger said. 

After their near-accident, the students continued their drive to campus. After driving through the stoplight at the intersection of Oakland and Ravina Park, a vehicle pulled up to the passenger side of the students car. 

“This guy pulls up right next to us,” the passenger said, “It wasn’t like he was slowly passing us, he pulled up right next to it.”

After pulling up to the side of the victims car, the other driver signaled for the victims to roll their window down. The passenger rolled his window down halfway. 

The driver yelled at the men for cutting him off previously. The passenger believes he replied, “I was like I was like ‘Dude, I’m so sorry. Like that wasn’t our intention to do that.’”

At this moment, the gunman lifted his gun. 

“I saw him lift up a gun,” the passenger said, “I  saw the first muzzle flash.” 

The passenger wrapped his hands around the back of his neck and ducked his head into his lap. Meanwhile the driver swerved into the incoming traffic lane so they could get distance between them and the gunman’s car. 

“When he first started shooting, he was probably within eight feet of us,” the passenger said. 

The Decatur Police Department has not yet released the amount of casings that were recovered from the scene. However, the passenger believes the number of shots fired to be around 10. 

After swerving, the victims pulled into the Grace-Land Fairlawn Funeral Home parking lot. 

“I was like, dude,” The passenger said, “I was like,’ if this guy comes back, we can’t just be sitting here.’ So we both get out of the car.”

After exiting the vehicle, the passenger recognized that the driver had been wounded from the gun fire. 

“He tried to start moving, and I can see that he was bleeding on his shoulder,” the passenger said. 

The passenger reassured the driver that they were okay. They proceeded to hide behind a building. 

The driver called his dad, who is a police officer at another town’s police department, while the passenger called 911. 

“Thankfully, there was a police officer stationed like a mile and a half away,” the passenger said, “So she was there, within like, within a minute.” 

Once the officer arrived, the passenger began to realize the extent of his own injuries. 

“ I didn’t really feel anything,” the passenger said,”I felt my neck and I was like, ‘wow,’ when something really warm. My hand was covered in blood.”

The driver was taken by ambulance to the hospital first since he had sustained a more severe injury. The driver was shot in his LAT muscle, right under his shoulder and his neck was skinned by a bullet. 

In the passenger’s ride to the hospital, he saw himself in the mirror. 

“I end up getting in the back of this ambulance,” the passenger said, “ A guy and a girl are with me. And I couldn’t help but just be grateful that I was still alive.”

Despite his life being inches from being over, in these moments he felt content with his life. 

“ I was like,’If it all ends tonight,’ it was weird, but I was like, ‘I think I’m okay with it.” the passenger said. 

Both the driver and the passenger are strong believers in God. 

“I’m satisfied with what God has done with my life so far,” the passenger said, “and when I was in there… I wasn’t thinking about my accomplishments or my aspirations for the person I wanted to be. I was just like, I’m so happy that I have given my life to Christ.”

The passenger sustained three injuries in total. Each of his injuries are from bullets grazing his body. He was grazed on his head, neck, and lower back. 

According to the doctors in the ER, a half inch difference on any of the passengers wounds would have resulted in him being paralyzed, or dead. 

“It was truly an act of God that we are both still alive and as well in shape as we are in,” the passenger said. 

The driver and passenger are expected to make full recoveries from their injuries. The driver returned to Decatur Monday night to attend a prayer circle held for the victims. The passenger hopes to return to town as soon as he can, but is waiting for his concussion symptoms to subside before doing so. 

 

The investigation surrounding this event is still ongoing, and the Decatur Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance. Anyone who witnessed this incident or has video surveillance footage of the shooting is encouraged to contact the Decatur Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division (217-424-2734) or Crimestoppers (217-423-8477). They ask for patience from the community as they will release more information as it becomes available. 

 

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About the Contributor
Carin Houser, News Editor
Carin served as the the Editor-In-Chief of the Decaturian June 2022 thru December 2023. She studies Journalism here at Millikin University. Outside of work and school, Carin is a triathlete who aspires to successfully complete an Iron Man competition. Carin's service dog Ata makes it easy to spot Carin on campus. Ata is a saluki who has been Carin's service dog since June of 2019. Carin is set to graduate with the class of 2024. 2021 Illinois College Press Association Awards: 1st Place - Spot News Photo 2nd Place - Sports Page Design 3rd Place - Multi Media Reporting 3rd Place - Online News Site 2022 Illinois College Press Association Awards: 2nd Place - Editorial 2nd Place - Spot News Photo 3rd Place - Sports Page Design Honorable Mention - Website Design

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