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'Please don't give up the hope': Peoria Mayor Rita Ali after South Peoria shooting injures 6

Peoria Mayor Dr. Rita Ali at the groundbreaking of "Providence Pointe," the new name for Taft Homes, on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021.
Hannah Alani
Peoria Mayor Dr. Rita Ali at the groundbreaking of "Providence Pointe," the new name for Taft Homes, on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021.

The Peoria community is reeling after a Wednesday night shooting in the 2200 block of West Marquette Avenue that injured six people, including two who are in critical condition.

Peoria Mayor Rita Ali says the violence is "heartbreaking."

"All hands need to be involved in reducing the gun violence, reducing the violence reducing the retaliation in some cases," she said following remarks at an unrelated event at the Peoria Riverfront Museum on Thursday morning. "I'm not saying this is retaliation. But we've seen a lot of tit for tat happen. And I just, you know, it breaks my heart that six young individuals were injured, shot and possibly killed."

The Peoria Police Department said four of those injured are juveniles.

Ali said the area in South Peoria is a hot spot for gun violence, and is known to organizations like the Peoria Safety Network. The Safety Network has done some outreach work on the same block, knocking on doors and learning the needs of families.

"We knew that this area was a hot, extremely hot spot. We knew that," said Ali. "When you have extremely hot crime spots for gun violence, you can anticipate that something's going to happen, you just don't know when. Last night is when things went off."

Ali asks residents not to lose hope in the wake of the shooting. She said addressing the violence will need to be an effort where "all hands need to be involved."

"There are communities that are coming together," Ali said. "Individuals and groups that have reached out to me throughout the night and this morning and said, 'How can I help?'"

Ali plans to meet with Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria later Thursday to further discuss the city's response.

In the meantime, she said the city needs to get moving on antiviolence initiatives. Cure Violence sitesare planned for the South Side and East Bluff.

"They can't happen fast enough is what I can say," said Ali. "They cannot happen fast enough."

Earlier this week, the Peoria City/County Health Department announced an extension on the RFP process for the South Side Cure Violence Initiative. The deadline is now Sept. 26, as they continue to search for a community organization appropriate for implementing the program. This is the second time the deadline has been extended.

There's currently no suspect information available for the Marquette Avenue shooting. Police continue to investigate, as additional reports of shootings occur Thursday morning.

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Collin Schopp is a reporter at WCBU. He joined the station in 2022.