This is part of my ongoing series Officer Down – in honour of police officers slain in the line of duty.
Shortly before 3:30am on May 19, 2021, the Champaign Police Department received a call about a domestic disturbance. Officer Chris Oberheim responded, as did a second officer.
Both were met with a hail of gunfire as they exited their squad cars. They responded in kind.
The suspect, 24-year-old Darion Marquise Lafayette, died at the scene.
Unfortunately, Officer Chris Oberheim was rushed to hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds. The second officer was also rushed to hospital and was listed in stable condition. The wounded officer’s name was not released.
Champaign Police Department Chief Anthony Cobb issued the following statement:
The Champaign Police Department, and the entire City of Champaign organization, expresses its deepest condolences to Officer Oberheim’s family, friends and loved ones. I also want to express my care and support for all members of the Champaign Police Department who are mourning the passing of their friend and colleague.
Chris Oberheim’s family released the following statement on May 21st:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” -Matthew 5:9
Chris Oberheim lived by this bible verse. He had a servant’s heart that revolved around loving his family and protecting others. Chris was not only a police officer, he was also a son, brother, beloved coach, trusted friend, and respected leader. He fulfilled the roles of husband and father best.
Chris started his career at the Decatur Police Department in 2000. He quickly became a respected officer within that department who led by silent example. He maintained a sense of humility even when receiving recognition for his heroic actions. He always looked forward to playing in the annual PBPA state softball tournament and making memories with his fellow officers. Their friendships were treasured.
Chris transferred to Champaign Police Department in 2008 where he continued to protect and serve his community. Chris received 2 medals of valor for his courageous acts of selfless bravery. However, you would never know that because he kept a humble demeanor and was never boastful.
Chris dedicated a great deal of his off-duty time to coaching several successful girl’s softball teams. His influence on the field was felt by many who loved and respected him.
Chris made it very apparent that his family was his first priority. His 4 daughters were his absolute pride and joy. The lessons instilled and the honor in their hearts will be used to carry on the legacy of their father. Times will be hard without him in sight at life’s events from birthdays, ball games, graduation, future weddings and even someday grandchildren. While incredibly hard, his family’s faith and belief that Chris is forever watching over will warm their heavy hearts during these moments.
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.
Moving forward we will do just as Chris would…stay strong, faithful and close to family. We do this for him.