Updated 04/06/11 – 11:20 p.m.
DEKALB, Ill. (CBS) – Two young men have been charged with attempted murder after a Northern Illinois University student was critically injured in an off-campus shooting overnight.
Shortly before midnight Tuesday night, DeKalb police received a report of gunshots near Aspen and Hillcrest drives. Police determined that shots had been fired from a vehicle at an apartment at 1009 Aspen Drive.A bullet went through the window of an apartment at that building, striking NIU linebacker Devon Butler, who was visiting friends at the apartment, according to police.
According to a news release from the school, Butler was in critical condition at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford.
Just hours before he was shot, Butler was interviewed about his hopes for the upcoming football season.
“Our very first goal is to win the MAC Championship,” he said. “We’re looking forward and whatever comes after that, we’ll follow through with that. But our main goal right now is winning the MAC.”
A witness at the scene of the shooting saw a black SUV, similar in make to a Dodge Durango, leaving the scene, according to police.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, DeKalb police said two men — Mark O. Orozco, 24, and Richard F. Van Arsdale, III, 20, both of DeKalb — have been charged with attempted first degree murder and several other drug and weapons charges. Both suspects are NIU students.
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The shooting apparently was the result of an earlier drug deal. Police said there was no indication that Butler knew about the drug transaction. He was just visiting friends at the apartment at the time of the shooting.
“Oftentimes, you know, when drugs are involved, you have innocent victims. This is another example of that,” DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen said.
According to the DeKalb Chronicle, police stopped a black Dodge Durango at about 12:30 a.m. a few blocks away from the shooting. The driver, Rogoberto Zavala, 22, was arrested on two warrants for driving with a suspended license. No weapons were found in the SUV and Zavala was released after posting $500 bond.
Huskies head coach Dave Doeren was at the hospital with Butler on Wednesday and has been in close contact with his family.
“All our thoughts and prayers as a team and as a coaching staff right now are with Devon,” Doeren said. “He’s a member of our family and the most important thing is his health.”
According to the team’s website, Butler, 20, is a junior at NIU, majoring in communication and minoring in physical education. He was born in Englewood, N.J., and went to high school in Florida.
He was selected to the 2010 All-MAC Third Team Defense. In 2010, he ranked second on the team in tackles with 71 and ranked third in tackles for loss with 5.5.
NIU Athletics Director Jeff Compher and the team’s assistant coaches met with players Wednesday morning to advise them of the situation.
“As an athletic department and as a university, I know that we are going to support Devon, his family and his teammates in every way we can,” Compher said. “Our primary focus is on all of our student-athletes at this time.”
Doeren has cancelled all football team activities, including Thursday morning’s spring football practice, until further notice.
The NIU student newspaper, Northern Star, reports that the NIU student is out of surgery after being shot on the right side of his back Tuesday night.
Anyone with information about the shooting should call DeKalb police at 815-748-8400.