Marchers peacefully protested outside the Peoria Police Department today in response to the fatal shooting of Eddie Russell Junior. The 25-year-old was the suspect of an armed bank robbery Wednesday and was shot and killed after a standoff with police, a few hours later.
About thirty people, mostly relatives and friends of Eddie Russell, gathered in Martin Luther King Junior park before their six block march to Peoria Police headquarters.
Family friend Harral Howard shouted “no justice” as he pushed Russell Junior’s grandmother Karen Johnson in a wheelchair. Howard says he’s known the Russell family childhood and knows Eddie Russell Junior struggled with mental health issues.
“He dealt with a barrage of different medications and different reactions to it and different things, and times where he may be distanced or out of it.”
That was echoed by other family members and friends who say Police went too far, by firing 18 shots.
Police have said 5 or 6 special response officers fired shots Wednesday. But before police fired at Russell, he reportedly emerged from his home and advanced toward officers with a raised gun. That was after a nearly two-hour standoff.
None of the officers were wearing body cameras during the shooting.
Bishop Harold Dawson of New Life Christian Church marched with the family of the deceased Eddie Russell Junior. Dawson says he’s praying that as details are made available, the community responds peacefully, unlike the violent clashes with police in other cities, like Ferguson and Baltimore.
“It’s a teachable moment," Dawson said. "It’s a moment that can cause us to take a look at where things are, perhaps to even prevent a Ferguson.”.