UPDATE: Peoria Police speak after deadly officer involved shooting

Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 11:00 PM CDT
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UPDATE: (8:50 p.m. Tuesday) - Peoria police chief Eric Echevarria said late Tuesday that officers responded to several reports of shots fired Monday evening, when they encountered an armed man, later identified as Samuel Richmond.

Four officers fired on him, killing Richmond.

“Mr. Richmond was armed with a firearm and placed officers in a life-threatening situation where deadly force had to be used,” Echevarria said. He also offered condolences to Richmond’s family and said that all four officers are on administrative leave.

UPDATE (6:30 p.m. Tuesday) - The coroner has released the name of the man killed in a fatal officer-involved shooting Monday night.

The Peoria County Coroner says 59-year-old Samuel V. Richmond died of multiple gunshot wounds throughout his body, dying instantly. Officers tried to provide life-saving medical aid, but Richmond was ultimately pronounced dead on the scene.

“It’s an unfortunate situation any time, any type of shooting or killing happens,” Peoria Mayor Rita Ali said. “The police will investigate to determine whether it was justified or not.”

Peoria Police were on-scene at Martin Luther King Jr. Park Monday night responding to multiple ShotSpotter alerts in the area. Witness Johnny Lee Williams says he heard at least two bursts of gunshots from his home nearby.

“I heard a couple shots at first, and then maybe a few minutes later I heard several more shots,” Williams said.

No police officers were hurt.

Illinois State Police have taken over the investigation and declined to answer those questions, citing the integrity of their investigation.

“This investigation is open and ongoing,” ISP spokesperson Jayme Bufford said. “In order to maintain its integrity, no information is being released at this time.”

Richmond’s close friends and coworkers tell us he worked in an area grocery store for decades and at Peoria International Airport most recently. Lifelong friend Alphonso Alexander says he asked police for clarity when he was on-scene last night.

“I said ‘did [Samuel] do something wrong, or did [police] do something wrong?” Alexander said. “And the guy... looked at me and me and said ‘Yes Al, something went wrong.’”

Richmond’s death is the first fatal officer-involved shooting in Peoria in four years. Investigations have ruled all recent police shootings as justified. Richmond has a lengthy list of traffic and speeding violations but no immediately apparent criminal record in Peoria County.

The Peoria Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union called for a full and transparent investigation in the days and months ahead. Steering Committee President Kristen Meierkord called it a sad day.

“The investigation into this shooting death must be complete and transparent,” Meierkord said in a statement to 25 News. “The people of Peoria deserve answers... and we welcome the involvement of Illinois State Police to conduct the investigation in a fair and independent fashion.”

Illinois State Police do not yet have a timeline for their investigation. Peoria Police say they will not release any more information about the case because of ISP’s involvement.

It is unclear whether any officers have been placed on leave at this time.

UPDATE (11:54 p.m.) - Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria says one person is dead after an officer-involved shooting near Martin Luther King Jr. Park on the city’s south side.

Police shut down the intersection of South MacArthur Highway and West McBean Street, near the shooting scene, but authorities have not said what led up to the shooting, which happened about 10:20 p.m.

Police said no officers were injured,

As is the case with other officer-involved shootings, Illinois State Police has taken over the investigation.

PEORIA (25 News Now) - Peoria Police late Monday night shut down the intersection of South MacArthur Highway and West McBean Street near Martin Luther King Jr. Park, on the city’s south side.

Police have not yet provided information about what happened in the area.

A statement emailed to the news media by the Peoria Emergency Communications Center said only that there is a “police incident.”

This story will be updated.