The Peoria County State’s Attorney is asking people to remain peaceful and reserve judgment on the police shooting Wednesday that resulted in the death of 25-year-old Eddie Russell Jr.
According to the Peoria County Coroner, the autopsy shows Russell was shot 18 times. Peoria Police confirm the evidence they found at the scene is consistent with 18 shots fired.
Peoria Police says Special Response Team Officers fired on Russell as he aggressively emerged from his home on Sheffield Drive with a raised gun about 3:46 p.m. Wednesday. He was the suspect identified in surveillance footage of the armed bank robbery reported at 12:49 p.m. a few blocks away.
Police spent the next two hours attempting to reach him inside his home, including with the aid of a family member, thought to be his mom. Peoria SRT Officers were reportedly on the scene at 2:25 p.m. That's a matter of course in a situation that involves a suspect held up with a weapon.
The Peoria Police Chief spoke to reporters about three hours after the shooting. At that time, he said early indications were five or six officers fired their weapons at least one or two times. He also said police were made aware of special circumstances Russell faced. Friends and family say Russell dealt with significant mental illness.
The most recent update from the Peoria Police Department says the six officers involved in the shooting have been placed on critical incident leave. That update also says the gun police recovered from Russell at the scene of the shooting is consistent with the description of the gun used in the bank robbery.
But Brady says there is still much to be determined before any further conclusions are drawn. “My simple message is, please as a community recognize we need to determine what the facts are before we make judgment and I would encourage the community to react peacefully as we go forward.”
Illinois State Police are handling the investigation required by law in such a fatal shooting. Brady says he’s encouraging them to move expeditiously.
The President of the Peoria Branch NAACP has also pledged to follow the facts as they are uncovered in the investigation and to see justice in the case.
One of the biggest legal questions at this point is likely whether it was a justifiable use of force. Brady says his office will handle those kinds of determinations after the investigation is complete.
It’s unclear how long that might take. No timeline is placed on law enforcement investigations as a matter of practice. That ensures respect for the integrity of the fact-finding process.
The Peoria County Coroner says toxicology results on Eddie Russell Jr. are pending and likely to be returned about October 10th. Walker Funeral Service is handling his final arrangements and they are also pending.