Police: Four-Year-Old Boy “Unintended Victim”

Peoria Police Chief Loren Marion III is pleading for the public’s help in solving Monday night’s shooting that killed four-year-old Jeremiah Ward.

Marion, during a news conference Tuesday, says people who may know information about the shooting death of Ward are not coming forward.

“When you have a four-year-old injured, and dead, why anyone would want to withhold information, I have no idea,” Marion said.

Officers responded a  ShotSpotter alert of 22 round fired in the 2800 block of W. Ann St.

Upon arrival, police found two shooting victims by a vehicle in a parking lot. One, the driver of the vehicle, a 23-year-old man with a non-life threatening gunshot wound to the leg.

The other, Ward, with two gunshot wounds to the back, and one to the arm.

Marion said police believe this is a targeted attack.

“The victim pulled up in a vehicle, and a very short time later, the suspect opened fired,” said Marion.

Marion said Ward had exited the vehicle, and was coming back from the apartment when the shots started.

One unknown male, and Ward’s mother were in the vehicle at the time of the attack, according to Marion. The unknown male fled the scene and is being sought by police.

“Possibly the driver would have been the target of the incident, and the child was an unintended victim,” Marion said.

Peoria County Coroner, Jamie Harwood said that the wounds Ward endured were devastating.

“His cause of death is related to internal bleeding that was pretty massive and pretty quick,” Harwood said.

Later Monday night, Peoria Police responded to shots fired in the 1900 of W. Missouri. They believe the incidents may be related.

There is no suspect information at this time.

Peoria Police are asking anyone with any information at all to call the Peoria Police Department (309-673-4521) or anonymously to Crime Stoppers (309-673-9000). Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the shooter.

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