Straight Talk | Solve the mystery on West Ann for $5,000



People are still talking about the tragic death of four year old Jeremiah Ward. The little boy was shot and killed by a vengeful gang member or drug dealer in the parking lot of the Lincoln Terrace Apartments, 2825 West Ann on the city’s Southside.

Police say Jeremiah went down with two bullets in the back and one in the arm. At least that’s what appeared to take place. His father, who remains unknown to most people in Peoria and miles around, knows what happened and so do the two people who were reportedly in the same car when they became targets for the shooter just a few feet away. The assailant got away and hasn’t been found nor have any clues. We haven’t even heard a description of “the man with a gun.”

It’s a mystery. How could a man pump multiple bullets into a child in a parking lot next to a large apartment building in front of three people, and then run away carrying a gun, and not be recognized by someone, somewhere, somehow?

I don’t think anyone believes the child was a target. Peoria police believe the father was the intended victim, not Jeremiah. Contrary to a local TV station, there was no crossfire. The gunman and only the gunman did the shooting. More than 20 shell casings were found not far from the car. Confusion remains about where the little boy was fatally hit from where the gunman was located.

This is the second small child killed by senseless acts of violence in Peoria. It’s all too easy to forget Jeremiah. After all, it happened in that part of the city all too often punctuated by violence. Police are investigating. CrimeStoppers is lending its support to bring justice for Jeremiah. The organization is offering $5,000 cash for anyone providing information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the person who accidentally killed the 4-year-old child. If you would like to help, call CrimeStoppers at 673-9000. You do not need to leave your name, but the organization has a unique way of awarding the reward money.

A name worth remembering

Here’s a name to remember — Stephanie Aaron. She’s a talented singer who graduated from Woodruff High School and Bradley University and did some great work as a D.J. at WSWT-FM. She left for Chicago in 2004 and made her name well-known in the Windy City performing regularly at various night clubs from Jilly’s on Rush Street to the Drake Hotel, Stetson’s Chop House and Andy”s Jazz Club. Stephanie hasn’t forgotten her roots in Peoria.

She recently came to the River City to sing at a fund-raiser on behalf of the GAR Hall on Hamilton. The Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation sponsored the event to raise funds to help maintain this historical building. As expected, Stephanie did an outstanding job entertaining everyone with her beautiful voice.

Jerry Brady, State’s Attorney

Peoria County has been fortunate. The county has always had in recent years accomplished attorneys as state’s attorney. With due respect to others, the best, in my non-legal opinion, is our current state’s attorney, Jerry Brady. From all I’ve learned, seen and observed, no one has worked harder and more effectively than Jerry. He’s been an early riser, burned the midnight oil, stays on top of everything, has hired energetic and enthusiastic lawyers, and works cooperatively with the media. What makes Jerry so unique, despite his hectic schedule, he manages to find time to help others. When Paul Reatherford passed away, fears were raised among the 200 plus volunteers for the annual Christmas basket program about who was going to provide the leadership. Have no fear –– Jerry is here! And so that magnificent charitable cause continues smoothly to the delight of hundreds of needy families and the volunteers who make it happen.

Jerry is having some health challenges. He needs our prayers for strength to him and his wife and family. I know you’ll respond. He’s been a wonderful, caring friend of mine for a number of years, as he has been for a great many others.

Perhaps without knowing, Jerry Brady has followed the advice of Mother Teresa, who said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”

He has done that for me time and time again.

A note of thanks

I don’t think I’ve ever taken the time in months, perhaps years, to thank the readers of this column. It’s not unusual for friends and complete strangers to stop me somewhere to tell me how much they appreciate my thoughts and my views about a variety of subjects, some controversial and some not. Special thanks to Clare Howard for making this possible since I started with the original editor and publisher many years ago. Sometimes I hyperventilate, but mostly give a perspective that may not be expressed anywhere else. And that’s good, I think.

One subject I do talk about a lot is the love I have for this country, especially for those, past and present, who served in the military. We can’t thank them enough, all of them … those who died and those who returned. God bless them and God bless America!

Quote for the month

“If we could hear one another’s prayers, God might be relieved of some of his burdens.”
– Ashleigh Brilliant

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *