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Mayor Ardis says community help is needed to curb violence

Peoria’s tenth homicide, Jeremiah Ward, 4, has left community leaders shaken.

During a press conference on Tuesday night, Peoria Police Chief Loren Marion got emotional when talking about the details regarding the little boy’s death. Marion was joined by other leaders like At-Large Council Member Rita Ali, who did not hold back.

“I say to the person that’s responsible the person or person’s that’s responsible, your soul’s never gonna be at peace until you take responsibility,” Ali said.

Mayor Jim Ardis was not at the press conference and had not commented publically until we stopped by his office.

“Typically when the police department does have a press conference and tries to give that type of information to the public it’s not something that necessitates elected officials being there. Sometimes it distracts from the focus of making sure that the community understands where the investigation is,” he said.

“This is really a time of grieving. I don’t think it’s a time for an elected official to be out there.”

Adris said he did reach out privately to local faith-based organizations to help with the murder and other community initiatives and that it will not get solved without help.

“We hope that the community uses this as a wake-up call to say we have to, we have to participate, we have to plug in. We have to help get the authorities the information so that these people don’t continue to do this,” he said.

Ali shares a similar sentiment.

“If we just turn our head, if we ignore this we have little Jeremiah’s blood on our hands. Everybody has to speak up,” she said.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $5000 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest of the shooter. You can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at (309) 673-9000 or by texting 274-637.

Stephanie Rodriguez

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