Police Continue to Investigate Officer-Involved Shooting



August 6, 2015

On August 6, 2015 a multi-jurisdictional press conference was held to share additional information with the public regarding the series of events that led to the officer-involved shooting on August 4, 2015 in Rantoul.  A recording of that press conference may be viewed HERE



August 5, 2015

Police Continue to Investigate Officer-Involved Shooting

On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, the Champaign County Metropolitan Emergency Tactical Response Operations team (METRO) and the Champaign Police Department SWAT unit were deployed to the Days Inn in Rantoul in response to a man who was believed to have committed the August 2 armed robbery of Hardee’s Restaurant in Rantoul.

31-year-old Darius Graves, of Tennessee, was captured on Hardee’s surveillance footage holding an employee at gun-point and demanding cash and other items.  After police shared the security camera photos with the public, they received two anonymous tips that led police to the Days Inn.

At initial contact with Rantoul Police, Graves barricaded himself in the hotel room, made threats to Police, and appeared to be armed.  This spearheaded the deployment of the METRO and SWAT units who would spend the next six hours negotiating with Graves.  After continued negotiations failed, police deployed gas into the room in an effort to get Graves to surrender.

At approximately 10:40 AM, Graves exited his hotel room holding what appeared to be a gun, running toward Police and the stairwell.  Champaign Police Sergeant, Colby Oleson fired one shot, striking Graves.  After being shot, specifically-designed less lethal rounds were fired for the purpose of safely taking Graves into custody.  Once Graves was apprehended, officers and paramedics immediately provided him with medical treatment.  Graves was transported to Carle Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead at 12:43 PM.

Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb expressed his condolences to both families involved in the shooting.  “We never want this to be the end result”, shared Cobb.  “This is a complicated incident that saddens us all.  Our sincere prayers go out to the Graves and Oleson families.”

Chief Cobb and Rantoul Chief, Paul Farber, along with the multi-jurisdictional investigative team are meeting with the families to provide support and to share details of the investigation.  More information about the investigation will be made public once investigators fully review reports and the numerous hours of video collected from the scene.

“We want and will be transparent with our public regarding this incident.  However, out of full respect for the family and responsibility of an efficient investigative process, we need to sort through all available evidence first,” stated Chief Cobb.

Through evidence collected in the hotel room, Police were able to corroborate Graves’ involvement in the August 2 armed robbery.  Video surveillance, interviews from eye witnesses, and internal reports are also being conducted as further investigation by the Illinois State Police and the Champaign County multi-jurisdictional team.

Champaign Police Sergeant Colby Oleson has been with the Champaign Police Department for 17-years, and serves as the Champaign Police SWAT Team leader.  As per Department policy regarding officer-involved shootings, he is currently on investigative leave pending the outcome of internal review.

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August 4, 2015

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, August 4, 2015, the Rantoul Police Department received information regarding a person who was a suspect in an armed robbery at the Rantoul Hardee’s Restaurant on Sunday, August 2, at approximately 10:40 PM. Security camera photos of the armed robbery were distributed to the community on Aug 3.  In response, Police received two independent tips that eventually led police to the Days Inn Hotel at 801 W. Champaign Ave., Rantoul.

At about 3:44 AM on Tuesday, responding officers found the individual had barricaded himself in his hotel room. Police requested dispatch of the METRO (Metropolitan Emergency Tactical Response Operations) team, comprised of officers from the Rantoul Police, Urbana Police, Parkland College Police, University of Illinois Police and Champaign County Sheriff’s Office. The Champaign Police SWAT unit was called at 7:00 AM and relieved a portion of the METRO team at approximately 9:00 AM.

Negotiators on the scene spent approximately six hours negotiating with the subject to remove himself from the room, without any cooperation. Over the course of negotiations, it was reported that numerous times the subject threatened to harm himself, others in the area, and officers. After continued negotiations failed, police deployed gas into the room.  During the course of resolution of the incident, a Champaign Police officer fired one shot, striking the subject.

Officers and paramedics on scene immediately provided medical treatment to the individual, and he was transported to Carle Foundation Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:43 PM from the gunshot wound.  The identity of the individual is being withheld pending the family notification.

Rantoul Police Chief, Paul Farber stated, “This is an unfortunate incident that we all hope never faces our community.  We strive to preserve the lives of all people and are deeply affected at the loss of any life.”

This incident is under investigation by the Champaign County multi-jurisdictional investigative team, led by the Illinois State Police. The Champaign County State’s Attorney and the Champaign County Coroner are assisting with the investigation.  Limited information is available at this time, as investigators have not yet collected all of the evidence and continue to interview those involved.

Police are asking community members to allow investigators time to work through all of the available evidence. The investigation will be very detailed in scope, and limited information may be available initially. Police will issue regular updates as soon as new details become available and are verified.

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