CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post indicated Jordan Walker was part of the most violent offender program. Police say Capt. Loren Marion misspoke during this morning’s interview with Greg and Dan.
Peoria police are wrestling with an apparent rise in violent crime on the south side of Peoria.
Jordan Walker, 20, was shot on West Millman Saturday night, and died at the hospital. That same night, Gabriel Melendez, 61, succumbed to a head wound he suffered a week ago. Police believe his roommate, Charles Freeman, hit him on the head with a hammer.
Melendez and Walker became the city’s third and fourth homicide victims of 2015, respectively. At this time last year, there had been only one homicide.
Their deaths came a day after a separate shooting on the south side. A man was shot as he answered the door at a house on Malone, near Westmoreland. His injuries were serious, but not believed to be life threatening.
While police admit there has been a recent spike in violent crime on Peoria’s south side, the stats show that crime is actually down so far this year.
“A lot of times the thefts and property crimes will drive the crime stats. And, overall we’re down 8-percent,” says Peoria Police Captain Loren Marion.
Police don’t think the shooting of Walker was random. Investigators are working to track down the group they think is responsible not only for his murder, but for an overall uptick in violent crime on the city’s south side.
“When we’re looking at the stats, and we see that a certain group is involved in numerous shootings, armed robberies, or even mob action, acts of violence, we will focus our attention on that group,” said Marion.
Marion says police usually see a rise in crime this time of year as the weather gets warmer.