Eddie Russell Jr, the 25-year-old cousin of Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, was tragically gunned down by police on September 22. According to Peoria police, he was suspected of robbing First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust.
Officers also claimed he had a gun when he robbed the bank and aimed it at the teller. He then returned to his family home where a stand-off with the police took place.It was reported that hours later he exited his home in an "aggressive" manner and was believed to be holding the same handgun used in the robbery when officers shot him.
According to Central Illinois Proud, Chief Jerry Mitchell said that at the time he believed, "five to six shots were fired ... from five to six separate officers."
T-Boz took to Instagram stating that her cousin was shot 18 times by police officers. She wrote:
"My cousin was shot 18 Times Including the Face and Back of His Head! He Harmed NO ONE EVER! He Had Mental Health Issues AND THE COPS KNEW THAT! Anything he's ever Done Was minor and NON VIOLENT! Eddie Russell Jr -A Human-Being -A Son- Brother-Friend-Nephew - Cousin-HUMAN!"
The TLC singer went on to say that police officers urged Russell Jr's mother to get him to come out of the house, insisting that they would give him the help he needs. T-Boz states that the police were aware of her cousin's condition and they still used excessive force to gun him down, they then lied and told Russell Jr's mother that he had been rushed to the hospital, knowing he had already died at the scene.
The six officers involved in the shooting are currently on critical incident leave. T-Boz is now urging her fans and followers to help spread Russell Jr's story in hopes of getting the justice he deserves.