'He was just a little boy': Peoria siblings mourn loss of their brother, 15-year-old Dequwan Pruitt
His favorite video game was "Grand Theft Auto." When he played NBA2K, he favored the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors.
An aspiring rapper, he listened to Chicago rappers King Von and Lil Durk. His favorite colors were green and red.
His name was Dequwan Pruitt, but he went by a family nickname, "Nook."
Friends and family gathered Wednesday night near the intersection of Sheridan and McClure in Peoria's Center Bluff neighborhood to mourn the death of Pruitt, who was killed nearby on Monday afternoon.
A freshman at Richwoods High School, the 15-year-old was shot multiple times in the 2400 block of Sheridan. After 12 hours of aggressive resuscitation efforts, Pruitt died at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center early Tuesday morning.
Pruitt had two younger sisters, 10 and 11, and two older brothers, 18 and 17. The brothers spoke with WCBU, but asked a reporter not to report their names.
"He wasn't a bad kid," the 18-year-old said. "He would cry over his girlfriend. Bro got a heart. He got a heart."
"He was just a little boy, bro," the 17-year-old said. "Still growing up."
Pruitt's killing marks Peoria's 29th homicide of 2021. The shooting death of a male Monday night in South Peoria 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, too.
During a Wednesday news conference, Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria said the 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."
As of Thursday there was no suspect information available in Pruitt's case.
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.
A friend of the family is raising money for funeral costs through a GoFundMe.