Vigil at U of I honors Mundelein man killed in shooting
URBANA -- Saturday started as a normal college night in Champaign -- just three childhood friends together drinking, going to an apartment party and grabbing food on their way home.
But while they were walking home around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, an argument from a different apartment party spilling outside turned violent. Shots rang out, and bullets hit innocent bystanders -- killing one and injuring four.
George Korchev, a 22-year-old from Mundelein, was visiting the campus but never came home. He was pronounced dead at 1:02 a.m. at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.
"As we were almost back across the parking lot, there were loud pops," said Eric Lasaine, a graduate student from Round Lake. "I immediately put my hands to my back and noticed the blood. As I was taught in Boy Scouts, I put pressure on the wound, got to safety and called the authorities."
Korchev was on campus to visit his friends Lasaine and Robbie Shepard, also from Mundelein and a research assistant at the university. Lasaine was shot in the back and Shepard in the arm, and both have been released from the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. A bystander unknown to the friends was also shot, and one person was struck by a vehicle while running away from the gunfire.
Lasaine and others shared memories and honored Korchev at a vigil on the Main Quad of the Urbana campus Tuesday night. The vigil was hosted by the student senate, and more than 200 students were in attendance.
The video game "Halo 3" initially bonded Lasaine and Korchev together during middle school. But Lasaine said it wasn't the game that made playing with Korchev his favorite memory of middle school -- it was Korchev's commentary and eccentric behavior, both of which continued to be parts of his personality as he grew up.
"George is unique from his beard to his man bun to his vape, but especially his personality," Lasaine said. "You never would have known anyone like him. His high-pitched laugh, his overall demeanor and his positive vibes were only some of his best qualities."
Korchev received his associate degree in applied science in nursing from the College of Lake County in December 2015 and had passed the nursing board exam earlier this month.
He was supposed to begin a new job as a registered nurse Monday at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.
Collin Schumock, student trustee for the Urbana campus, said Korchev's goal was to become a hospice nurse, someone who provides comfort to terminally ill patients.
"George was described as skilled, emphatic and selfless. He is a man we should all admire and strive to be more like," he said. "He was focused on making people's lives better and was a man of selfless care."
Renee Romano, vice chancellor for student affairs, shared safety tips to students at the vigil but said the victims of Saturday's night shooting were doing everything right and were still hurt, making the incident especially disturbing.
The Champaign Police Department is searching for the shooter, reviewing surveillance video and interviewing witnesses. The department will give an update on the investigation in a Wednesday morning news conference.
Rory Cohen, a sophomore studying applied health sciences, said students hear about shootings but never think they will happen at their own school.
"I think about all the families and the people that it is affecting, and this was an awful thing," she said. "He didn't go here, so just to imagine visiting your best friend at college and not being able to come home. It's awful."