Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

Tanya Koonce

Authorities say a central Illinois man has died in an officer-involved shooting.

Mike Broatch / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Peoria Fire Department is reporting four arsons over a four-day period. Two car and two house fires since Saturday are being investigated, after it was determined they were intentionally set. Arson investigators say each fire involved a large amount of accelerant, and each was set in the middle of the night.


The Peoria area housing market remained stable in the first quarter. 

State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth is sponsoring legislation to remove a common roadblock for those with a criminal record. 

Police statewide are targeting distracted driving with special patrols for the rest of the month. 

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The end appears near for The Bon-Ton Stores that operate seven retail nameplates, including Bergner's stores in Peoria, Pekin, Bloomington, and Champaign.


Liquidation firms Great American Group and Tiger Capital Group won the auction the court considered for approval Wednesday. A statement from Bon-Ton says the bankruptcy court was expected to approve "the sale and wind-down of the Company's operations."


Family members are finalizing the funeral details for a Bradley University student from Chicago who was shot dead at an off-campus party earlier this month. 

Peoria Police Department

Lonnie Smith, 46, made his first court appearance in Pekin Friday on charges that include the drug-induced homicide of Anthony Phillips.

16-year-old Jermontay Brock is charged with first degree murder for the death of Anthony ‘AJ’ Polnitz at a house party last weekend. Brock is being held on $1 Million bond.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Police have made an arrest in last weekend's shooting that killed two at a house party.  A 16-year-old was arrested without incident about 7:40 Wednesday night in the 2700 block of West Trewyn.

18 year-old Bradley University pre-med major Nasjay Murry from Chicago and 22-year-old Anthony Polnitz of Peoria were shot and killed about 1:40 Sunday morning at a crowded house party at the corner of Bradley and Western Avenues. Another female Bradley student was injured in that shooting.

Google Maps

The East Peoria man whose truck was struck in the accident on I-74 at Pinecrest in Drive Monday evening has died. The Peoria County Coroner says 39-year-old Wayne Farrow succumb to the traumatic head injuries he sustained.


IDOT District 4

A semi carrying a combine failed to make it under the overpass at Pinecrest Drive on Interstate 74 Monday evening. The semi was traveling eastbound about 6:30 when it struck the overpass. Debris from the combine struck the 2003 Ford pickup truck traveling behind the semi and flatbed.

Police Seek Information on Weekend Shootings

Apr 9, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Police are asking for help in solving three separate shootings between Saturday and Sunday nights. Five people total were shot. Three are dead.

24-year-old John W. Bell III was killed at the corner of Wyoming and Oregon Streets Saturday, April 7th at 9:15 p.m. He was shot 10 times, twice in the back of the head, with six penetrating wounds. The coroner says Bell died on the sidewalk in front of a church.

China's Threatened Tariffs Would Impact IL Economy

Apr 8, 2018
Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons

  China’s newly imposed tariffs and those threatened are of pressing concern to the Illinois agriculture economy. China’s move comes in response to the Trump administration’s call for new tariffs on Chinese aluminum and steel.


A Bradley University student was one of the two people shot and killed early Sunday morning. It's one of two deadly shootings in Peoria separated by about 5 hours. The Peoria County coroner identified the Bradley student as 18 year-old pre-med major Nasjay Murry from Chicago.


She was shot at the same time 22 year-old Anthony Polnitz was shot and killed and another female Bradley student was injured. Polnitz lived at 6516 N. University Street.


3 Arrested For Selling Deadly Synthetic Cannabis

Apr 3, 2018

  The owner of a Chicago convenience store and two employees have been charged with selling synthetic marijuana that has been linked to two deaths.


Federal prosecutors have charged 48-year-old Fouad Masoud and 44-year-old Jamil Abdelrahman Jad Allah, both of suburban Justice, and 44-year-old Adil Khan Mohammed of Chicago with conspiring to distribute and sell a controlled substance. Federal prosecutors say U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents made undercover buys of the synthetic cannabinoids at Masoud's West Side Chicago store.

The Springfield Housing Authority is going to share its expertise with the Peoria Housing Authority. Rather than hire a new executive director, the PHA is temporarily calling on the SHA to address deficiencies.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has rated the Peoria Housing Authority as substandard since 2011. But the SHA is labeled a high performer. The Springfield Housing Authority will manage the PHA for at least the next twelve months.

Peoria Man Stabbed To Death On Easter

Apr 2, 2018

30-year-old Kendric Parker is the Peoria man who was stabbed to death Sunday evening. He lived at 1824 Lincoln Ave.

Synthetic Marijuana Kills 2 in Illinois

Apr 2, 2018
Scharle / Creative Commons

The state health department reports 2 people have died linked to synthetic marijuana use. One is a 22-year-old Peoria man and the other is in Chicago. State and local Public Health officials are not revealing the identities of the victims.

Two Illinois Congressmen talked bi-partisan politics and policy Wednesday at Bradley University. The Institute for Principled Leadership and Dirksen Congressional Center sponsored the event. 

OSF HealthCare and Peoria Public Schools are partnering to create a Trauma Recovery Center at Trewyn School next year. The center is designed to offer victims of violent crimes and other extreme situations wrap-around services to help them survive and prosper post-trauma.

Demand for downtown residential opportunities in Peoria is on the rise, according to a new study.

The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Peoria Health Department are issuing warnings about synthetic cannabinoids after multiple people who've used them suffered severe bleeding.

Peoria City Council Tuesday Night Round-Up

Mar 28, 2018

The Peoria City Council met on Tuesday, March 27th, 2018 for a regularly scheduled meeting. Here is a brief round-up of some of the business conducted and issues discussed by council members.

Shuttle Service Ending

An Illinois hospital has partnered with seven EMS providers to test a new app to improve communications.

Peoria Public Radio

Ten months after his release from prison, Cleve Heidelberg is dead. The 75-year old was in failing health at the time of his release last spring. He was found in an apartment in the 4200 block of Knollridge Rd. with no external trauma or sign of injury according to Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood.


Heidelberg was released after serving more than 47-years in prison. He was convicted of murdering Peoria County Sheriff Sgt. Raymond Espinoza in 1970. His conviction was vacated last April.


In the 18th Congressional District race Republican incumbent Darin LaHood walked away with 79 percent of the vote over Don Reints. LaHood will look to retain his seat in the November election running against repeat Democratic contender Junius Rodriguez. Rodriguez won 42 percent of the vote in a three-way race yesterday against Brian Deters and Darrel Miller. 

Wikimedia Commons

Peoria Police says social media posts asserting attempted abductions in the area are false.

In fact police say the posts that started on Friday are absolutely false. Police say they spoke to the original poster and it was determined her Facebook account was hacked. But apparently the modern-day rumor mill had already taken root, as that story and additional ones continued to emerge in slightly varied forms Saturday and Sunday.

First Lady Encourages Expansion of IFC

Mar 16, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  First Lady Diana Rauner says she hopes to expand the newborn home- visiting pilot program called Illinois Family Connects (IFC). It started in Peoria and Stephenson Counties last year.

Rauner met with program stakeholders and those interested in knowing more Thursday in Peoria. The first lady has spent her career in early childhood care.

Simulating Poverty Realities in Greater Peoria

Mar 16, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

More than 80 area professional participated in a poverty simulation at the Peoria Dream Center.

The Heart of Illinois United Way hosted the event. Stephen Peterson is the Vice President of Resource Development for the organization.  He says the simulation aims to help participants start to understand what it might be like to live at or just above the poverty level month to month.