PEORIA Ill. (WMBD) — Friday night, Peoria police responded to a call of a person shot on North Great Oak Road.
First responders located 15-year-old Jabbarius Highsmith with multiple gunshot wounds. He later died after being transported to OSF Saint Francis medical center.
Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said that nationally, homicide is the third leading cause of death for males between the ages of 15 and 34.
Here in Peoria, homicide is the number one cause of death.
“The third leading cause of death nationally for 15 to 34-year-old males is homicide, In Peoria, for the same age group, 15 to 34 years old, our number one cause of death for that same age group is homicide,” said Harwood.
He continued, “We really need to take a hard look at where we’re missing the mark in Peoria for this particular age group of kids that are going into their teen years and then early adulthood because they’re losing their lives faster with preventable deaths and injuries than national benchmark numbers.”
Harwood went on to stress the importance of putting the youth at the forefront of the county’s priorities.
“They’re losing their lives to violence at a faster pace in Peoria than they are nationally. And if gun violence doesn’t get them, then depression and anxiety are through suicide, and then drug overdose is the third leading cause so we have work to do. We have to put our youth in the forefront,” said Harwood.
He said suicide and drug overdose is the 2nd and 3rd leading cause of death for the same age group of men.