Man shot by Police, remembered by friends

PEORIA, Ill - “To come and just see the pain, to see the father holding back his tears was rough,” said Benjamin Thornton, family friend of the Russells.

The killing of Eddie Russell Jr. is being investigated by Illinois State Police. Police say he robbed First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust Wednesday afternoon using a gun before going to his mom's house. During an hours-long standoff with police officers attempted to make contact using a bullhorn, phone and family. When Russell Jr. came out of the house police say he did so aggressively raising a gun toward the officers. That's when 5 or 6 officers fired, and Russell was pronounced dead at the scene.

Benjamin Thornton has known Russell Jr. and his family for many years.  Their neighborhood connection led to a long time friendship.

“He was just always to himself, very quite. He loved music he just loved to be in his own area, his own zone and just have fun, he wasn’t a troublemaker in this neighborhood at all,” Thornton added.

Thornton says the neighborhood knew Eddie's behaviors and helped monitor him and while Eddie may have asked people for things Thornton says he would never turn to violence.

“It was just all the mental disability that he suffered with, he never would hurt anyone. There was never any reports of him ever trying to hurt anyone in the area, maybe asking for stuff but not actually ever physically hurting anybody,” Thornton said.

Following Eddie's death, Thornton hopes the city of Peoria can grow and move in the right direction from this experience.

“Pray for our city because we really need it, we need to move forward, we need to be more of a learning situation rather than a hurtful one."

Chief Mitchell says none of the officers involved wore a body camera. He is asking anyone who might have video related to this incident to reach out to the department


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