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Fallen Officer Honored With Portion of Champaign Roadway

On July 27, 2021, the City of Champaign unveiled a street sign to rename part of University Avenue after fallen officer Chris Oberheim.

CHAMPAIGN – This week, the city of Champaign dedicated a portion of University Avenue to police officer Chris Oberheim.

Champaign Police Officer Chris Oberheim. Champaign Police Department

Oberheim was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call on the morning of May 19. Officer Jeffrey Creel, who was shot and wounded, killed the suspect, Darion Lafayette of Champaign.

On Tuesday, members of Oberheim’s family were there as the city dedicated a stretch of University Avenue between Chestnut and Neil Streets to the slain officer. The portion is along University Avenue near the Illinois Terminal train station. There are street signs on the traffic light poles and plaques about Oberheim’s life in the area.

Champaign police chief Anthony Cobb remembers the husband and father of four.

Officer Oberheim was a brother. He was a dad. He was a son. He was a great guy. He was a girls’ dad. He was the guy that would give the shirt off his back and always did a lot to support his daughters through softball,” says Cobb.

Champaign police chief Anthony Cobb addresses a dedication ceremony for a street renaming after fallen officer Chris Oberheim. Members of Oberheim’s family are seated behind Cobb. Reginald Hardwick/Illinois Newsroom

Chief Cobb says employees decided that the stretch of University Avenue should be named for Oberheim, because he would drive in that area as part of his route home to Monticello after his police shifts.

“We know Chris would have came this way, so it is our opportunity to reflect on him when we go that way,” says Cobb.

Oberheim was 44-years old. He is the first officer to die in the line of duty in Champaign since 1967.

Champaign police officers attend a dedication ceremony for a street renaming after Chris Oberheim. The Champaign officer was killed in the line of duty on May 19, 2021. Reginald Hardwick/Illinos Newsroom
Picture of Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick is the News & Public Affairs Director for the Illinois Newsroom. He started at WILL in October of 2019 after serving as News Director for WKAR in East Lansing, Michigan. Previously, he was a news producer and manager at the NBC station in Dallas, where he won 7 Emmy awards. Born in Vietnam, Reginald is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado. Email: rh14@illinois.edu Twitter: @RNewsWILL

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