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Police address fatal off-campus shooting during press conference

The Peoria Police Department and the Bradley University Police Department held a press conference at 3 p.m. Monday at the Peoria Police Headquarters to discuss details of the fatal shooting that took place April 8. A homicide investigation is now underway.

18-year-old Nasjay Murry, a Bradley University freshman, and 22-year-old Peorian Anthony Polnitz were found dead at the scene when police arrived at a house in the 1800 block of W. Bradley Ave., where the shooting took place at a house party.

The press conference was led by PPD Acting Police Chief Loren Marion III. PPD Captain Michael Scally of the criminal investigation division, BUPD Chief Brian Joschko and Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood were also present.

Scally said though the shooting took place near campus and involved a Bradley student, he does not believe there are any additional threats to the Bradley community.

“I don’t believe at this time that there is a reason to be on edge,” Scally said. “I don’t believe Bradley University is targeted. I don’t believe there is any other individuals that I know of that are targeted at this time.”

Campus was first notified of the incident when BUPD sent out a safety alert via email at 2:29 a.m. April 8. The alert stated, “At approximately 1:44a.m., Bradley University Police and City of Peoria Police responded to a report of a shooting off campus in the 1800 block of W. Bradley Avenue, near of the intersection of N. Western Avenue.”

During the press conference, Scally provided new details on the incident, stating it took place at a party that had been advertised through social media.

“People from the Peoria area, as well as Bradley University students, went to attend,” Scally said. “Approximately 100 people were seen leaving from the area. Officers tried to identify as many as they could leaving.”

Scally said there is no suspect information to provide at this time, but said anyone present or with information regarding the shooting should to come to PPD.

“[With] 100 people in this house, we should be able to locate someone who saw or knows what happened there,” Scally said. “To lose two young lives like this, I hope these people will come forward and give us the information that they have.”

Additionally, Scally said another Bradley student suffered a gunshot wound to their hand during the incident. The student received medical attention from a nearby hospital and has been released, according to an April 8 university press release.

No calls or complaints were placed to PPD or BUPD from the location of the incident prior to the shooting, according to Scally.

“We had not received any calls to that house,” Scally said. “As a matter of fact, checking the back history for that house for the last year, we had not had calls of trouble at that house at all.”

After the press conference, Joschko sent out an email to the campus community. It reiterated the continued cooperation between PPD and BUPD while also addressing the concern that the incident is not believed to be random.

“Together, we continue to investigate the incident and do not believe there is an ongoing threat to our campus,” Joschko said. “While no suspects have been identified at this time, all indications are the shooting was targeted and not a random act. Today, Peoria Police said they do not have any concerns about safety on Bradley’s campus and we echo their sentiments.”

According to Scally, 13 cell phones were recovered from inside or just outside the residence that people abandoned while leaving the scene. Scally said that anyone who may think that their cell phone may have been one of the phones left at the residence can come to the Peoria Police Department to pick up their phone. Joschko said in the campus-wide email that other items were left at the scene and can be picked up at BUPD.

Joschko said that those with information or who were in attendance before or during the shooting can share what they know with BUPD or Peoria Police. BUPD can be reached 309-677-2000 and the Peoria Police can be reached at 309-673-4521.

Anyone who would like to remain anonymous can make reports through BUPD’s silent witness program at https://www.bradley.edu/offices/other/police/witness/. Additionally, Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for anyone who can offer information that leads to an arrest and an indictment. Crime Stoppers can be contacted at 309-673-9000.

The Counseling Center will continue to provide additional hours throughout the week to the Bradley community, according to an email sent out Monday by Vice President of Student Affairs Nathan Thomas.

“In order to serve our community, this week we will be offering walk-in counseling hours for students, faculty and staff from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 1:30-4:30 p.m. in the Garrett Center (second floor),” the email said. “Our counseling staff will continue to maintain their regular schedules in their Markin Center offices. The Counseling Center can also be reached at 309-677-2700.”

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