UPDATE: Juvenile injured in Center Bluff shooting has died
A 15-year-old boy is dead after he was shot multiple times on Monday afternoon on Peoria's Center Bluff.
Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood has identified the victim as Dequwan Pruitt of Peoria.
Peoria Public Schools District 150 spokesperson Thomas Bruch confirmed Pruitt was a freshman at Richwoods High School. Bruch says the school has counselors and other grief resources available at the school for students and staff.
Peoria Police spokesperson Semone Roth said officers responded to a ShotSpotter alert near Sheridan and McClure just after 2:30 p.m.
The juvenile was found on scene and taken to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. Harwood said Pruitt suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at 2:20 a.m. Tuesday, following aggressive resuscitative efforts and treatment. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.
Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria called Monday a "dark day" for the city, with two homicides reported. The city has recorded 30 homicides so far this year. Echevarria said authorities believe the murder on Sheridan is linked to other recent violence in the city, but declined to elaborate further, citing ongoing investigations.
The chief did implore the friends and family members of the youth touting guns in the community to intervene.
"Go out and tell them to stop it. That simple. Tell them you care about them. Tell them to stop it," he said. "Because if they don't, somebody's going to die, somebody's going to go to jail, somebody's going to get injured."
Abigail Larrison, who runs the Community House and lives on nearby West Thrush Avenue, said she walked the kids she works with at the Art Garage home Monday night because they were scared to go alone. She's planning a community event on Thursday to make a plea for peace.
"The overall goal is to make more love and connections and break out of the fear," she said. "When people see other people standing up, then they get encouraged to be able to do so themselves. They don't fall into despair or just want to run away from the problem."
That event is set for 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday at 2223 N. Sheridan Road. Agbara Bryson's New Millennium Institute is also planning a community forum centered around the ongoing violence this Saturday at the Harvest Supermarket, 210 S. Western., from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
This incident now marks Peoria's 29th homicide of 2021. The shooting death of a male in South Peoria on Monday night was the city's 30th reported homicide. The October death of an infant who was still unborn when his mother was shot was reported as a homicide on Tuesday, as well.
Echevarria said the police department is working on a new tipline to allow those with information about crimes who may fear retaliation to speak with police anonymously. He pleaded with those who have information on the city's homicides to reach out.
"Sometimes, some people need to go to jail. And these might be the people who need to go," he said. "And so we need the help of the community to identify who these offenders are, when we don't know who they are, so we can do that."
There is no suspect information available. Anyone with information or camera footage is asked to call the Peoria Police Department at (309) 673-4521 or CrimeStoppers anonymously at (309) 673-9000.