Peoria city leaders condemn weekend violence, ask community for accountability

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — An early morning gathering turned violent Sunday after a fight broke out between two women.

Peoria Police say dozens of shots rang out just after 4:40 a.m. by the Peoria Riverfront and Gateway Building. 13 people were injured in the incident at Water and Hamilton. While authorities believe no one suffered life-threatening injuries, two people are in serious condition.

This incident comes after other shooting incidents this weekend. On Sunday, Mayor Jim Ardis said the community needs to be more responsible.

“We need to talk about community accountability, we need to talk about what is the need for these large gatherings at 4 a.m.” Ardis said. “Is that appropriate and is that necessary?”

Ardis said it’s tricky for law enforcement in situations like Sunday morning because until police see a crime happen, gathering in a public place isn’t illegal.

“That is a challenge people understand they’re not congregating on private property, they’re not breaking the law until something like this happens,” Ardis said.

Damage from a homicide related shootout Saturday.

After four shooting incidents, 18 people hospitalized and one person dead in less than 48 hours many said they are worried. First District Councilperson, Denise Moore said it’s unfortunate, but does not represent Peoria as a whole.

“The entire first district should not have to live as if they’re afraid to walk the streets or go to the store,” Moore said.

Moore said the vast majority of Sunday’s gatherers were peaceful and while she didn’t necessarily condone the late night into early morning get together, like Ardis, she said there’s nothing illegal about the size of a public gathering.

The aftermath of a large gathering in downtown Peoria early Sunday morning.

“How many is the right number, 5, 15, 50,” Moore said. “There’s no exact number.”

Now leaders are left to find answers on how to stop the violence. Mayor Ardis is asking the community to think before they act, but said change won’t happen overnight.

“I cannot appeal strong enough to the people out there that are participating in this type of activity to please think about these innocent people that end up getting caught in the crossfire,” Ardis said.

Both Moore and Ardis said they are working hand-in-hand with Peoria Police to find better ways of reaching out to the community to prevent incidents like this from happening in the future.

All incidents remain under investigation, and if you know anything about them, police want you to call them or CrimeStoppers.

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