Police report documents give more details in homicide of 15-year-old Merian Smith

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 4:29 PM CST
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - Records obtained by 25News for Peoria’s 23rd homicide investigation show the case is not yet over and then more arrests may still be made.

Police reports made on the night of the shooting give more detail into the chaotic and emotional scene from that Nov. 7 shooting. Police were called to the intersection of Hannsler and Boonz around 3:30 p.m. that day. When they arrived, they found two gunshot wound victims.

Police record show one suffered a gunshot wound to the right hip, while 15-year-old Merian Smith sustained a gunshot wound to the head. Records show three officers worked to revive Smith at the scene, two performing CPR and the other supporting his head.

An officer’s recounting when he filed his report describes the scene as emotional. Dispatch records show a 911 call at 3:38 p.m. where only screams could be heard on the line.

Smith began breathing and regained a pulse before being taken away in an ambulance.

However, statements from the officer who met Smith at the hospital showed he did not regain consciousness during his time in the ER. Smith was moved to the neurological ICU. He was eventually pronounced brain-dead on Nov. 9.

One man, 18-year-old Erick Jackson, was arrested and charged with murder and aggravated battery earlier this month. However, testimony from the detective at Jackson’s bond hearing and statements from the police reports suggest there may be other suspects out there. Home surveillance video that led to Jackson’s arrest showed three men lingering outside a garage before the shooting occurred.

Jackson’s public defender argues that while Jackson was present, there is no evidence to suggest he took part in the shooting or fired the fatal shot.

Dispatch records show reports of three men fleeing the scene in a white car. Police records show indications of police investigating that claim but not being able to find anyone. Officers also combed the area for a discarded gun using dogs but did not turn up that evidence.

Much of the eyewitness testimony was redacted. Full reports and statements were also not available at this time. Police records show that body cams were worn and recorded footage, but that footage was not provided by police at this time.