Friend: Mundelein man killed in Champaign shooting was studying to be a doctor



(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

A Mundelein man was killed in a shooting near the University of Illinois in Champaign that left three others wounded early Sunday, authorities said.

Champaign police say the first shooting, about 12:40 a.m., apparently stemmed from an argument shortly after midnight at an apartment party on Green Street, the commercial heart of the campus. Four people were shot, none of whom were involved in the fight, police said.

“Our preliminary investigations completely points to an argument taking place at the party and the argument spilled out into the street and that’s when a fight occurred,” Champaign police spokeswoman LaEisha Meaderds said, adding the reasons for the fight isn’t clear yet.


One man, George Korchev, of Mundelein, was pronounced dead just after 1 a.m. at Carle Foundation Hospital, according to police and the Champaign County Coroner. He was 22, according to the Daily Illini.

The other three people shot were taken to area hospitals with injuries described as non-life-threatening. A person fleeing the gunfire was hit by a car on Green Street and suffered minor injuries.

At 1:08 a.m., about half an hour after the first shooting, another shooting was reported in the 700 block of State Street. One person was wounded and taken to a nearby hospital.

Police believe the two attacks may be related.

Korchev’s friend and former high school classmate Justin Konis said Korchev was the very definition of class clown, but not in a disruptive way.

He was “just someone who you could always find smiling and always found a way to turn a negative situation into a positive one.”

Konis said it would be difficult to find someone who didn’t like Korchev, who was studying to be a doctor. He attended the College of Lake County and worked at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where he was supposed to begin working as a registered nurse on Monday, the hospital said in a statement.


“We lost someone whose life mission was to help others,” Konis said.

Korchev also was a lover of frisbee golf as well as vaping, Konis said, and just strived to make people laugh.

Kathryn Lawlor, a Naperville resident and a May graduate of University of Illinois, caught some of the gunfire on a cellphone recording for popular social media app, Snapchat.

The teacher was back at her university to celebrate her 23rd birthday where she’s had such good times in the past, she said. As she was heading to the well-known bar the Red Lion, she walked past an empty lot where she saw between 100 and 200 people gathered.

The group was loud, and even though no one seemed angry or aggressive, she took note.

“I whispered to my friend, ‘that looks like bad news to me, that doesn’t seem right,'” Lawlor said.

Her friends dismissed her as overly cautious, she said. Moments later she started the cellphone recording and immediately after it began, gunshots are heard in quick succession.

“Some people thought it was fireworks but I knew — I’ve shot guns before for recreation, so I know what a gunshots sound like,” Lawlor said.

Police later told her there were as many as eight shots fired, but her 3-second video, now circulating on Twitter, caught the first five gunshots.

Lawlor and a friend ran toward an apartment complex nearby that she was familiar with and some good Samaritans let them take cover inside the building. She watched the police arrive from a balcony on the 19th floor, she said, and she got in touch with authorities to let them review her recording.

The shootings remain under investigation.


6:37 p.m.: This article was updated with an Advocate Condell Medical Center statement.

6:45 p.m.: This article was updated with Korchev’s age and the college he attended.

The Associated Press and Tribune reporters Megan Crepeau contributed to this report.


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