Champaign officer killed, another wounded in exchange of gunfire; suspect also killed

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A Champaign police officer was killed Wednesday morning and another was hurt after responding to a domestic disturbance call at an apartment complex.

Champaign police said in a statement that two officers who were called to the scene of a domestic disturbance on the city’s north side about 3:20 a.m. encountered an armed person after exiting their police cars and an exchange of gunfire followed.

The suspect, later identified as Darion Lafayette, 24, of Champaign, was pronounced dead at the scene, while both officers sustained gunshot wounds and were taken to a hospital.

Chief Anthony Cobb confirmed the death Wednesday morning. He has issued the following press release:

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart I announce Champaign Police Officer Chris Oberheim, 44, badge number 703, passed away due to injuries sustained while on-duty. Officer Oberheim was struck by gunfire while responding to a domestic disturbance. His only intention was to serve, protect and help provide care before he was senselessly fired upon and killed.

Officer Oberheim joined the Champaign Police Department in September 2008 after beginning his career with the Decatur Police Department. A true professional and devoted public servant, Officer Oberheim is remembered for his heroism, bravery, and the oath of office he honorably upheld in his commitment to duty.

The Champaign Police Department, and the entire City of Champaign organization, expresses its deepest condolences to Officer Oberheim’s family, friends and loved ones. I also want to express my care and support for all members of the Champaign Police Department who are mourning the passing of their friend and colleague.

We ask that Officer Oberheim’s family, and other Champaign Police Officers’ and their families’ privacy be respected during this difficult time.”

Champaign police said 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.

The second officer is in stable condition and is a father of three who used to work as a police officer in the Chicago area.

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