Over the weekend in Peoria, four people were shot, including two brothers wounded in separate shootings.
Video @ link Below
A pair of shootings overnight Wednesday brought to two dozen the number of victims in the city in the last two weeks – a figure that elevates the amount of recent gun violence to a possibly unprecedented level.
The tally, compiled by the Journal Star and confirmed by the Peoria Police Department, includes the public suicide of Bernell Alexander last week in South Peoria, but not the slaying of his ex-wife in Creve Coeur just minutes before he took his own life.
The most recent victims included a man who was shot in the shoulder at 10:45 p.m. Wednesday in the 3400 block of Sunburst Lane in the Lexington Hills apartments and a man with a gunshot wound to the neck who was taken by private vehicle to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center at 3:13 a.m. Thursday. The second victim told police he was shot while he was a passenger in a vehicle driving through Harrison Homes.
The second shooting marked the 24th victim of gunfire since June 16, when a pair of afternoon shootings kicked off a 12-hour spree of violence that resulted in one fatality and five other people being wounded, including two children who were sleeping on the floor of their North Valley home.
Just a few days later, six people – all teens between the ages of 16 and 19 – were shot during two incidents less than a couple of hours apart.
Several days with multiple shootings and the city’s 15th and most recent homicide have since transpired, leading Lt. Vince Wieland of the Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division to label the period the worst in terms of local gun violence in decades.
“I haven’t seen two weeks like this in my 23 years,” Wieland said Thursday. “I can’t remember two weeks that have been this packed with such a number of violent acts.”
Compared to last year, however, the number of shootings so far this year does not appear to be abnormally high. Through June 22, the city had recorded 58 shootings, compared to 45 over the same time period last year.
“When we’re looking back to June 22, there isn’t that much of an increase, it’s just how it’s coming – it’s coming in bunches,” Wieland said. “It’s getting everyone’s attention because there’s been so many so quickly.”
Several of the shootings appear to be connected and gang-related, and the police have responded in part by temporarily reassigning an officer to a gang intelligence position that was cut at the beginning of the year to ease a $14.5 million citywide deficit.
Wieland called that position critical for investigations of shootings and a better way for the police to keep tabs on what’s happening on the streets. So far, the gang violence appears to have been generated by people and groups familiar to investigators, though some ground was lost when the gang intelligence position was vacant.
“We did lose some vital information that we were tracking,” Wieland said.
Though the recent spike in gun violence has caught the attention of authorities and onlookers for its unusual frequency, it remains, to a certain extent, part of a pattern that repeats every year.
Elaine Frye, executive director of emergency medical services at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, acknowledges the unusually large cluster of shootings in the last two weeks but also notes that more victims of violence tend to visit the level-one trauma center as temperatures rise.
“There is a seasonality to it – when the weather is nicer, more people are outside and roaming,” she said. “We see it every year. When the weather breaks, we see more stabbings, shootings and violence.”
The recent level of violence, she said, has not affected emergency operations at the hospital
A 51-year-old Peoria man who went to Taft Homes to buy marijuana Thursday afternoon ended up being beaten, threatened with a gun and robbed.
The man admitted to police that he went into Taft to buy a small amount of marijuana, then went to a nearby liquor store to buy two 40-ounce bottles of beer. As he walked back through the 600 block of Adams Street about 3:50 p.m., he was approached by three black men.
According to the police report, the men demanded money. The victim said he had none.
At that point, one man punched him in the face, knocking him to the ground. Another man pointed a gun at him and again demanded money.
After repeating that he had no money, the man was kicked in the ribs. The assailants went through the man’s clothing and stole $16, a cell phone, two beers and a small bag of marijuana.
The victim walked to the Peoria police station to report the incident but was unable to give much of a description of the suspects.
Two men were carjacked Friday night outside a South Peoria liquor store.
Just after 10 p.m., two male suspects with guns reportedly approached a car in the parking lot of South Metro Market, 2421 W. Starr St.
The carjackers told the victims, both in their mid-20s, to get out of the car, according to police. One victim was hit with the butt of a gun, which caused minor injury.
Both victims told police they heard gunshots as they ran from the scene.
A juvenile court judge has moved the case of a 13-year-old boy accused of participating in the Oct. 21 armed robbery of the Downtown 66 gas station to adult court.
Peoria County Judge Chris Fredericksen ruled that Shyeim Chapai, of 241 Hancock, would be tried as an adult after a hearing Monday afternoon in the juvenile division of Peoria County Circuit Court.
Within a day of the ruling, a Peoria County grand jury indicted Chapai on a charge of armed robbery. He will be arraigned Thursday. Bond was set at $150,000.
Assistant State’s Attorney Ken Wilhelm argued the case should be moved to adult court, which means Chapai would face up to 30 years in prison if convicted. Had he remained in juvenile court, the case would have remained sealed, and any sentence would have ended when he turned 21.
The prosecutor showed the judge a video taken the night of the robbery. Chapai is allegedly seen walking into the station, pointing a handgun at the clerk and demanding money. Another boy, Danarious J. Kelly, 16, of 510 NE Adams St., Apt. 55, allegedly ran behind the counter, beat on the cash register and got about $500 before fleeing.
Kelly had already been charged as an adult on the same charge. His age and the charges made his case an automatic transfer,
Chapai’s attorney Chandra Justice told Fredericksen the case should remain in juvenile court. She cited her client’s past mental health issues as well as his age and lack of criminal history as reasons he should remain in the juvenile division.
Police were tipped to the boys after the clerk said he recognized one of them, and a fingerprint recovered at the gas station matched the boy. When questioned, Chapai allegedly admitted his involvement. Police later recovered the unloaded handgun.