Peoria community reacts to officer-involved shooting - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Peoria community reacts to officer-involved shooting

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El's car crashed into a pole at the scene of the incident El's car crashed into a pole at the scene of the incident
PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) -

Three officers are on leave as of Thursday night after opening fire and killing a man following a morning traffic stop.

Peoria's police chief says one officer was also injured after being shot in the torso in an exchange of gunfire with the suspect. While he hasn't been identified, police confirmed that officer is in stable condition with injuries described as "non life threatening."

Authorities say it all started with a routine traffic stop around 2:30 this morning,

Police say they stopped a vehicle driven by 33 year old Daniel El on a stop sign violation and expired registration, but El allegedly drove off, prompting a chase.

After losing control and crashing, police say El tried to flee on foot and that's when the exchange of gunfire occurred.

Peoria Police Chief Jerry Mitchell explained during a news conference that he wasn't clear which party involved in the gunfight, fired first and since police are currently in a pilot phase testing out body cameras, the officers involved didn't have footage of the incident.

Witnesses in the area, however, recounted the scary situation in detail.

"We just heard guns shots going off...come outside and it was all blocked off," recalled Allen Settles. He and his family woke up around 2:30 a.m. to chaos, quickly learning two people had been shot just feet from his Garden street home. 

The Peoria Police Chief stated "One officer was struck by gunfire, transported to a local hospital. The suspect was also struck by gunfire and transported to a local hospital where he was later pronounced deceased."

Although police confirmed that Daniel El tried to escape them after a routine traffic stop,  they're still  piecing together how the entire incident transpired.

Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said they would be able to reveal autopsy results by 9 a.m. Friday, with information on how many times El was shot and any other key details relating to El's death. 

The situation is the second officer involved shooting in 5 months. The frequency of such events is has left some with concerns on how they can help prevent similar scenarios. 

Terry Burnside, the Director of Peoria Community Against Violence said he just needs some direction on how to pull the community together. "Just inform us all on what we need to be doing more of as far as community collaboration, networking and just working together. In respect to law enforcement, my heart goes out to all. At the end of the day we're talking about lives."

But witnesses remained shaken up by the chaotic shootout, ready to pack their bags and avoid any chance of experiencing the situation in the future.

"I got grand kids. What if a bullet ricocheted off my house and went through my house? That's what we're scared of. We haven't been here but seven months...We're talking about selling or moving. My wife's scared. My kids are scared. I'm not gonna put up with it, " said Settles. 

The Illinois State Police are conducting the investigation. In the meantime, per standard procedure in cases like this, the officers who were involved have been placed on administrative leave until investigation results are released.

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