© 2023 Peoria Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Four Peoria police officers are on leave after 59-year-old man, reportedly armed, was fatally shot

Tim Shelley
Police were still on the scene of a fatal officer-involved shooting at Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Tuesday morning. The Illinois State Police are handling the investigation.

One person is dead following an officer-involved shooting Monday night in Peoria.

The incident happened as police responded to a ShotSpotter alert on one round fired at 10:06 p.m. in the 700 block of Hurlburt. While on scene, police heard another shot around 10:11 p.m., said Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria in a statement.

Echevarria said officers encountered Samuel "Vincent" Richmond, 59, of Peoria, in nearby Martin Luther King Jr. Park in the 800 block of W. McBean.

"Mr. Richmond was armed with a firearm; placing officers in a life-threatening situation where deadly force had to be used," said Echevarria.

Four Peoria police officers fired their weapons. The exact circumstances which led officers to use deadly force remain unclear. Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said Richmond was shot multiple times and died instantly. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

All four officers are on administrative leave per department policy while the investigation into the use of deadly force continues.

"While our officers are extremely dedicated to preserving life, unfortunately there are times when we are forced into deadly encounters, and last night was a clear example of that," Echevarria said.

ACLU Peoria Chapter Steering President Kristen Meierkord called Tuesday for a "complete and transparent" investigation into the shooting.

"The people of Peoria deserve answers," she said. "And we welcome the involvement of Illinois State Police to conduct the investigation in a fair and independent fashion."

The chief said his department is committed to an "open and transparent" investigation.

Meierkord also expressed concerns that the ShotSpotter system was the apparent catalyst for the event. She called for an evaluation of the system, and for its removal if it's found to not be improving public safety.

This is the fourth fatal officer-involved shooting in the city of Peoria in the last five years, and the first since Echevarria became chief. Eddie Russell, Jr. was killed in September 2017. Daniel El and Luis Cruz were fatally shot by Peoria police in separate 2018 incidents. All three of those shootings were determined to be justified by the Peoria County State's Attorney's Office.

Police were also involved in the incident leading up to the May 2020 death of Trashaun Shields, but Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said authorities determined Shields died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, not police gunfire.

The Illinois State Police are now investigating. The agency confirmed no officers were injured in the incident.

We depend on your support to keep telling stories like this one. You – together with donors across the NPR Network – create a more informed public. Fact by fact, story by story. Please take a moment to donate now and fund the local news our community needs. Your support truly makes a difference.

Kristin McHugh is an experienced radio journalist and nonprofit manager. Most recently, she served as executive director of the Peoria Area World Affairs Council.
Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.