While much of the mainstream media has been focused on allegations of police brutality, one Illinois community has become the latest to experience a different form of police-related violence.
The Champaign police chief confirmed this week that a long-serving officer in his agency had been killed while on the job. According to the Washington Examiner, Anthony Cobb released a statement regarding the tragedy on Wednesday.
“Devoted public servant”
“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart I announce Champaign Police Officer Chris Oberheim, 44, badge number 703, passed away due to injuries sustained while on-duty,” the chief explained.
Cobb noted that Oberheim “was struck by gunfire while responding to a domestic disturbance.”
Far from the portrayal of police by some vocal critics, the veteran officer’s “only intention was to serve, protect and help provide care before he was senselessly fired upon and killed,” his chief continued.
The statement recalled that Oberheim joined the force in September 2008 after transferring from another department.
“A true professional and devoted public servant, Officer Oberheim is remembered for his heroism, bravery, and the oath of office he honorably upheld in his commitment to duty,” Cobb concluded.
“The hustles and bustles of life”
Monticello Schools Superintendent Vic Zimmerman said that the fallen officer was a devoted family man who leaves behind four daughters.
Local reports indicate that Oberheim’s alleged killer was also fatally injured during the altercation and died at the scene. He has since been identified as Champaign resident Dario Marquise Lafayette.
Police records show that Lafayette had an extensive criminal history, including a guilty plea for violating a bail bond issued in connection with charges of aggravated domestic battery, domestic battery, and criminal damage to property.
Oberheim’s death comes as the law-enforcement profession is facing increased cultural pressure and amid evidence that police agencies nationwide are struggling to meet recruitment goals and replace retiring officers.
As part of a statement in the wake of the officer’s death, his family wrote: “Thank you for those who have and continue to show their love and respect for Chris and his family. He genuinely cared about each and everyone that was ever part of his life. Through the hustles and bustles of life stay kind-hearted, take the time to slow down, hug your loved ones, hold them tight and enjoy every moment you’re blessed with together.”