Police target gangs in shooting investigations

By WEEK Producer

September 23, 2013 Updated Sep 23, 2013 at 7:24 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Peoria Police are targeting several local gangs, they say, are connected the recent uptick in gun violence.

Over the weekend, there were at least four shootings with injury and one death.

Police believe there are several groups involved in these shootings and crimes from earlier in the week, the P-stones, Zone 4 and the notoriously violent Bomb Squad.

"Your likelihood of becoming a victim of violent crime is often dependent upon your associations. Whether you are involved in criminality or you are involved in gangs,” said Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard.

Melvin Sanders Jr., 25, was shot and killed Saturday night. Sanders is believed to be a member of the Bomb Squad and is the cousin of KeiAmber Beard, who was murdered in a home invasion Thursday alongside her boyfriend, James Irby Jr.

Settingsgaard said it seems there are a number of people not getting the message of the “Don't Shoot” program and he is planning on quickening the pace.

"We may schedule three to four call ins a year and schedule them ahead of time,” he said.

Captain Mike Eddelmon said these gangs will be targeted in the next phase of the program.

"What we are trying to establish here is the lifestyle and the choices that are made and the people you are hanging out with and we are trying to follow through with the consistency and the credibility of if you do this we will do this,” Eddlemon said.

Chief Settingsgaard said there will be more uniformed presence on the streets where recent gun crime has occurred.

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