Homicides far exceed statistics since the start of 2021 in Decatur

DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) – Jailan Taylor, 20, died at a Decatur hospital after being shot near Jasper Park on Saturday night in the second of two incidents of gun violence resulting in hospitalizations over two days.

Taylor’s death marked the sixth homicide in Decatur for the year. Four of the victims died from gunshot wounds. In contrast, Decatur police reported one homicide in late May 2021.

James Garner, 29, lives around the corner on E William St (near N Witt St) where police say they found Taylor. The longtime Decatur resident was out of town this weekend, but he’s no stranger to the increasingly familiar sound of gunshots ringing out.

Garner said the trend seemed to be taking a turn “really over the past two years,” aligning with national statistics and a two-and-a-half-year pandemic.

“Police shooting, guys on the street shooting at each other. It’s just, it’s crazy,’ he said as he pushed his 2-year-old daughter back and forth on a swing in the park on Monday afternoon.

Decatur police say three people were injured, one critically, in another shooting in the early hours of Friday morning. This incident happened about two miles away at the Lock Stock & Barrel bar and restaurant, off S Oakland Ave.

“It’s crazy, it should stop, people losing their lives, mothers losing their babies to pointless stuff,” Garner said.

“Things that could be solved with words, or if it happens, punches, boxing or something like that.”

Police arrested one of the victims, Deyondre Weaver, 18, on charges of aggravated discharge of a firearm and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Zionteridy Manns, 35, was later taken into custody for the same incident, according to a police news release on Saturday.

About a week and a half earlier, police responded to a reported shooting on E Center Street. Around the same time, a 49-year-old Decatur man arrived in a private vehicle at a nearby hospital with fatal injuries from the gunfire.

Ernest Durham, 40, died of gunshot wounds he sustained in a shooting three days earlier near the Roosevelt School apartment complex off W Grand Ave.

Homicide data disaggregated my month was not readily available from the Decatur Police Department. for years before 2021

“I have two other boys, 14 and 12, so they’re getting to that age where they’re going to hear gunshots, they’re going to see people with guns and I just hope they have enough good sense to get home,” Garner said.

He said he had open conversations about gun violence with his boys.

“You have to do it in today’s world.”

“I just tell them to be careful, to stay in school, to always be vigilant. If you don’t feel comfortable anywhere, leave. I mean it’s up to them to follow that advice I can’t make them follow that advice, but I can give it to them,” Garner added.

Decatur Police reported arrests in two of six homicide cases in 2022.