Peoria leaders address recent violence as city reaches record 30th homicide this year

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Tuesday, Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria held a press conference on recent violence in Peoria and the efforts being made by law enforcement.

On Monday, Peoria saw a record 29th and 30th homicide this year. The victims of those two shootings were 15 year-old Dequwan Pruitt and 35 year-old Adrian Kendrell Murphy.

“These young men in our community don’t know how to deal with the issues that they’re facing and are quick to pull a gun out and shoot somebody,” said Chief Eric Echevarria, Peoria Police Department.

As part of the police’s response, Echevarria said his department is continuing to work on leads, plus meeting with families impacted by violence and local clergy.

He said police are also working to push out an anonymous 411 tip line.

“We’re not going to share who we spoke with, we just want people to come forward and speak with us, but they need to able to trust us and we understand that,” Echevarria said.

Echevarria added that officers will make every effort to get violent offenders off the streets.

“As much as we talk about we need to engage our community and we believe in that, sometimes people need to go to jail and any of those violent offenders, gang members, sex offenders that are committing crimes, any of these types of offenders that are out in our city committing crimes, sometimes people need to go to jail,” Echevarria said.

Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said he believes deadly violence is a multi-generational and multi-zip code issue, and begins with a child’s life at home.

“I know what people go through because I talk to them everyday. Single parent homes, in poverty, parents working two jobs, caring for several children at the time, trying to even put food on the table. Then people have the audacity to ask do you where your kid is? I’m working two jobs trying to raise my family,” Harwood said.

Harwood added that every community member must play a role in the solution.

“We’re going to be in the same position day after day after day unless we grab a hold of each other and work together,” Harwood said.

Echevarria is also asking for the family or friends of the indiviiduals committing the crimes to help stop the violence.

“Tell them you care about them, tell them to stop it because if they don’t somebody’s going to die, somebody’s going to go to jail, somebody’s going to get injured,” Echevarria said.

26 of the 30 homicides in Peoria were committed using a gun, and Echevarria stated many of the weapons appear to be stolen. During the press conference he urged the community to safeguard their guns so they aren’t used illegally.

Watch Tuesday’s full press conference below:

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