Police: No link between 2 Champaign shootings; surviving victim speaks

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Erik LaSaine still has a bullet in his back, but wanted to keep the focus on his friend George, who died. (WLS)

Champaign police now believe two weekend shootings that left one man dead and four people wounded were not related.

Police initially said the Sunday morning shooting at a party at an apartment on Green Street in the University of Illinois campus' primary bar-and-restaurant district and another a short time later may have been related.

But on Tuesday police spokeswoman LaEisha Meaderds said interviews with witnesses about the second shooting led investigators to conclude there was no link.

A vigil was held Tuesday night for the bystanders caught in the violence of the shootings. Three of the four people shot were friends headed home from a night out.

Hundreds gathered in the Quad to remember the victims, including Erik LaSaine - the man injured, but not killed, over the weekend. He still has a bullet in his back, but wanted to keep the focus on his friend George.

"He always kept people laughing and in a good mood. If they were down, he'd bring things up," LaSaine said.

George Korchev, 22, of norths suburban Mundelein was shot and killed as he was walking by a fight. He was supposed to start a career as a registered nurse this week.

LaSaine and Korchev grew up together near Mundelein. They were celebrating Korchev's new nursing job Saturday night and were walking through Champaign's busy bar district blocks from campus when they were shot.

"I immediately put my hand to my back to keep pressure on it and to actually make sure it was blood," LaSaine said.

Andrew Lona, another University of Illinois student, was on his way to meet them.

"You think you're always safe but in actuality we're not. Anything can happen at any time. You'll never know," Lona said. He didn't think that way before the shooting.

At the end of the remembrance, school officials once again appealed for anyone who knows the shooter to come forward.

University of Illinois police are looking for suspects in the shootings. No arrests have been made.

Students, campus leaders and Champaign residents also gathered for a moment of silence following two shootings over the weekend.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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