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A Look At Crime in Central Illinois during 2019

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2019 ended with 25 homicides in Peoria alone -- a figure that has not been seen for 30 years, not to mention other high profile crimes across the area.

FEBRUARY: Kayla Fannon was one of the first homicide victims of 2019. The 30-year-old was killed in February after her ex-boyfriend broke into her south Peoria home.

David Jenkins shot and killed Fannon before turning the gun on himself. Fannon's family and friends said police failed to protect Fannon after she said Jenkins had threatened to kill her over text several times. On body cam, an officer promised to "go pick him up now." Hours later, Jenkins killed Fannon.

"The system is really failing a lot of us out here, and I feel like we all need to come together and let them know we're not playing anymore. My friend lost her life and I almost lost my life," said Brittany Hearton during a protest outside Peoria Police Headquarters, days after her friend Kayla was killed.

MARCH: Nearly all of Illinois was on alert after Floyd Brown led police on a chase from Rockford to Lincoln, Illinois. Brown allegedly shot and killed a McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy.

Brown got away but was later spotted in McLean County. A chase followed lasting 30 minutes, Brown reaching speeds over 100 miles per hour. He eventually slid off the road. After barricading himself in the car for six hours, he was taken into custody. Rockford Police Chief Daniel O'Shea spoke with the media after the standoff ended.

"Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office has authorized charges of first degree murder against Brown and a warrant has been issued with no bond," said O'Shea.

APRIL: A fire claimed the lives of five people in Goodfield. Kathryn Murray, Jason Wall, Rose Alwood, Daemeon Wall, and Ariel Wall were pronounced dead. Rose and Daemeon were two years old, Ariel was only one. It was announced months later on October 8, that a 9-year-old was charged with murder. Samantha Alwood, Rose's mother, says she wants justice for her daughter.

Alwood says the suspect deserves "juve-, someplace until juve-, and then prison for life."

MAY: The thirteenth marked the killing of one of the city's youngest homicide victims -- 4-year-old Jeremiah Ward. Ward was hit after 22 rounds were fired on the 2800 block of West Ann in Peoria. Both family and law enforcement, including Peoria Police Chief Loren Marion were left shaken.

"One victim, Jeremiah Ward, a 4-year-old male, is later deceased," said Marion, as he fought back tears.

JUNE: A member of the Fulton County Sheriff's Office was killed in the line of duty. Deputy Troy Chisum was shot when responding to a batter and disturbance call in rural Avon. In addition to his work as a deputy, Chisum served as a paramedic and was a member of two Illinois special response teams.

NOVEMBER: Less than a year after an 8-year-old girl's death, her father's girlfriend was found guilty of killing her. Cynthia Baker was accused of kicking Rica Rountree in the stomach so hard that she later died. The case shed light on DCFS shortfalls, with previous investigations showing a pattern of abuse.

DECEMBER: The year ended with a triple homicide on Christmas morning around 2am. The Livingston County State's Attorney says Pontiac Correctional Officer Clifford Brewer shot and killed his wife Shirley, his son Christian, and their neighbor Norman Walker in Brewer's home in Cullom, Illinois. No motive for the killing has been confirmed but residents were shocked to see such a horrible thing happen in a quiet village of less than 600 people.

"When I woke up this morning, it was a crime scene, I freaked out, in a small community like this, it's weird," said Robert Rich, who lives next door to Brewer.

Andy Weber

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