Shootings, School Fights In Peoria; Police: 'tIme To Act'

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The mayor said Peoria is at a “breaking point” after three shootings so far this week, the city's 23rd homicide in 2021 and a major fight at a high school.

More than a dozen people from the school district, city hall and other groups stood with the police chief at a news conference Tuesday, the Journal Star reported.

“We will not stand for this chaos in our community,” said Chief Eric Echevarria, who started his new job in August. “To our community, I say the time is now. It is time to act. It is time to come together as one Peoria, to come forward and help stop the violence that is plaguing our city.”

He noted that a man threw knives at police officers, and there were nine arrests related to a large fight last Friday at Peoria High School.

Police have seized 266 guns since Jan. 1, but Echevarria said there are more illegal weapons on the streets.

“Peoria, we are at a breaking point in our community,” Mayor Rita Ali said. “It’s a point where our situation around the violence has become critical.”

School Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat said the brawl at Peoria High was still being investigated. There were more fights Tuesday at the high school and Trewyn Middle School, but she said they were small.