Peoria police chief talks safety after Facebook Marketplace transaction turns deadly – 25 News Now

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PEORIA (25News Now) – Stay public. That’s the word from Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria after a Facebook Marketplace meet-up in Peoria turned into a deadly confrontation Monday night.

Police say two people came to Peoria to buy a vehicle that they saw on Facebook Marketplace. They were directed to a nearby alley to see the car and were met with several armed people who police say tried to rob them.

Both groups opened fire and one of the suspected robbers, 18-year-old Marcus Whitehead of Bloomington, was shot and killed.

Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria is encouraging people to conduct these transactions in public places only; whether that’s City Hall, the Fire Department, or the Police Department.

“If you’re a legitimate seller, you’ll go where I need you to go. If you’re really trying to sell something — whether it’s a cell phone, a gaming system, shoes, a car — why can’t you meet somewhere that I’m asking you? I’m the one who’s going to buy it. Meet me somewhere safe,” Echevarria said.

Other safety tips include setting up meetups during the day, telling someone where you’re going and who you’re meeting, and checking the seller’s profile before you agree to meet them.

Echevarria also says at this point, police are looking at the Monday night shooting as justified self-defense. The victim is a legal gun owner with a license to carry a firearm from another state.

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