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Police: Savoy man threatened violence against Champaign mayor, Campustown mass shooting

Michael Miller's mugshot from Champaign County Sheriff Dept.

URBANA – A Savoy resident is facing a Class X felony charge of “Making A Terrorist Threat” after he sent emails to the mayor of Champaign threatening to commit a mass shooting.

Meanwhile, Mayor Feinen says she’s grateful to Champaign Police  and the Champaign County’s State’s Attorney’s office for their actions in the case.

Feinen wrote in a Facebook post that she wanted “to wholeheartedly thank Chief (Timothy) Tyler and the women and men of the Champaign Police Department and Julia Rosenbaum Rietz and the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office, Julia Rietz, State’s Attorney’s office for taking these threats seriously and acting quickly.”

Champaign Police say 54-year-old Michael Miller was arrested Monday and arraigned on Tuesday. He is currently held in the Champaign County Jail on a one-million-dollar bond. If convicted, Miller could face six to 30 years in prison.

Police say Miller sent more than 8.300 emails to Mayor Deb Feinen in the last year, and nearly 300 emails in last seven days.

“While his messages had initially been dismissed as benign, his rhetoric took a concerning turn in recent months, often referencing violence against the Mayor and others and frequently making indirect threats,” according to a Champaign Police Dept. statement.

According to the News-Gazette, Miller allegedly suggested in a July 24 email that a mass shooting would occur at the corner of First and Green Streets in Champaign’s Campustown.  His emails also mentioned a quote “handful of folk” he specifically wanted to kill. Miller allegedly sent similar emails to Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin in 2020.

Authorities say a search of Miller’s home turned up “multiple items that were consistent with the threats being made”. The News-Gazette reports that according to Champaign County State’s Attorney Julie Rietz, that included three ghost gun kits and materials for making ammunition.

This story has been updated to include Mayor Feinen’s Facebook post and a statement from Champaign Police. – JM 8/3/22

Picture of Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows has been covering local news for WILL Radio since 2000, with occasional periods as local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered and a stint hosting WILL's old Focus talk show. He was previously a reporter at public radio station WCBU in Peoria.

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