Peoria Police and city leaders are calling for anyone who knows anything about the murder of Jeremiah Ward Monday to come forward.
Police and members of the Peoria Community Against Violence (PCAV) group did an extensive canvas Tuesday of the West Ann neighborhood where the 4 year-old was shot.
It appears the child left the car in the Lincoln Terrace parking lot soon after they parked and went toward an apartment building, but he turned and went back when the shooting started. Ward’s mother was also in the car.
The Peoria County Coroner says Jeremiah he was hit three times, twice in the back and once in the arm. The coroner says despite heroic efforts by the trauma team at OSF, Ward died quickly of massive internal bleeding.
Peoria Police Chief Loren Marion says the target of the shooting was probably the driver, and was not the child. But they are still looking for a male passenger who was in the backseat and fled when the ambush happened.
Police recovered 19 shell casings. The ShotSpotter alert counted 22 rounds fired. But the chief says ricochet could account for the difference.
Marion says the three detectives dedicated to the case are eager to talk to possible witnesses. “We believe people with first hand knowledge of this incident, that are not being forthcoming with any information. That is what is most frustrating about where we are in this case right now.”
Police are still trying to determine whether another shooting on Missouri was connected and they’re looking for cell phone video related to the shootings.
Peoria City Councilwoman Rita Ali says she knows retaliation is possible, but Jeremiah Ward deserves justice. “Someone has to be held accountable for Jeremiah’s death and his blood is on all of our hands if we don’t stand-up and be strong and get justice for Jeremiah.”
Councilwoman Ali says people who care to address this matter on social media should use #justice4jeremiah.
People with information can contact the officer in-charge, Detective Matt Legaspi by calling the non-emergency number, 309-673-4521. People can also share information and remain anonymous with Crimestoppers 309-673-9000.