PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Several stood outside area hospitals throughout the night Wednesday and into Thursday morning, waiting to hear any word regarding the conditions of people shot in South Peoria
As of 6 am, Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said in a text message that he had heard of no deaths after the horrific shooting that occurred shortly after 9 p.m.
Six people were sent to the hospital Wednesday night, five of whom had gunshot wounds. One suffered a laceration, Peoria police said. The incident occurred in the 2200 block of West Marquette Street shortly after 29 gunshots rang out.
The victims, all men or boys, remained at the hospital late Wednesday and into early Thursday. Two were in critical condition, according to Semone Roth of the Peoria Police Department.
A bit after 1 a.m., a man outside of OSF Healthcare Saint Francis Medical Center, a man, who was outside in the parking lot, said “They’re waiting on the chaplain to walk with them upstairs.”
Later, a woman came outside from being in the emergency department, repeatedly crying, “Why my baby??”
Not long after, a reporter from WMBD-TV did see that woman walking with someone who had his hand wrapped up in something. The same woman was then escorted back inside the building.
Shelli Dankoff, a spokeswoman for OSF Healthcare, said in an emailed statement, “There was increased activity within the parking lot of the Emergency Department at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center last night in the wake of the shootings the Peoria Police Department informed you about to help with crowd control. There were no incidents that occurred as a result of all of the activity.”
Just after the shooting, Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria spoke of “chaos” in the area. He described the response as “all hands on deck.”
“State police is out here, there Sheriff’s Office is out here, AFT. the Peoria Police Department. It’s all hands on deck, full command staff is out here on the scene. Obviously we have a situation here where we have six victims that were shot,” he said.
The shootings come after nearly daily shootings in Peoria during the month of August. There have been five homicides in or immediately outside of the city with four of those being due to firearms.
“What is going on behind the scenes that people feel the need to be shooting at each other at different parts in the city,” the chief said. “We have to figure out what is the root cause of these shootings that are happening.”
Roth said there is no suspect information. This incident is under investigation.