PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – A grim anniversary Thursday as investigators mark two years of searching for a killer who murdered a 4-year-old boy.
“We need people to come forward as a community to take a stand on this we are talking about the murder of a 4-year-old,” said Brad Dixon, Peoria Police Captain.
In an unsolved case, one of the city’s youngest victims shot to death outside the Lincoln Terrace Apartments in Peoria. 4-year-old, Jeremiah Ward died just hours after the gunfire. Now two years later, no arrests and no justice for the little boy who was remembered for his hugs.
“Mom describes Jeremiah as a loving child who randomly would run-up to her and grab her by the neck and kiss her and hug her and tell her that he loves her,” said Peoria Coroner, Jamie Harwood.
Caught in a barrage of 22-bullets, investigators have said Jeremiah wasn’t the intended target of the shooting. They believe he was hit by 3 stray bullets aimed at a 23-year-old man who was in the car with Jeremiah and his mom.
Despite waves of outrage following the crime, fast forward to today and the streets have been silent. Police still searching for a killer while scrambling to respond to another recent uptick in violence.
“This year there has been shootings nearly every day,” said Peoria Community Against Violence CEO, Becky Rossman.
She said they will be taking a new approach, engaging people in their own neighborhoods.
“To go out with us in the high crime areas during peaking times because that is the number one thing shown and proven to reduce gun violence,” said Rossman.
She said they are looking for volunteers to help hit the streets and create relationships.
“We’ll be showing up with water and maybe sandwiches and just talking to people and offering them services or ask just how are you doing what do you need? Just being there with a consistent presence and going where the people are,” said Rossman.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Peoria Police Department at (309) 673-4521 or anonymously at Greater Peoria Crime Stoppers at (309) 673-9000.