EAST PEORIA — Detectives sought to learn Friday why a Peoria man fatally shot an East Peoria man in his home and then seriously wounded himself Thursday night.
Kenneth Ohler, 47, was not seeking to kill Michael Dixon, 60, but instead "sought to confront" another resident in Dixon's home, said East Peoria Detective Sgt. Brian Despines.
That resident has since been identified as Dixon's stepson, who was not home about 6:30 p.m., when Ohler arrived at Dixon's residence at 809 Springfield Road.
Dixon's wife went to a neighbor's house to summon police, who arrived to find Dixon fatally shot and Ohler with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest, both inside the home, Despines said.
Dixon was pronounced dead at the scene. Ohler was taken to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center with injuries described by police as life threatening.
"We've not been able to speak to him yet," said Despines, who understood Ohler was to undergo surgery Friday. His condition was not made available by the hospital.
Police know that Ohler and the person he sought to confront "were co-workers at one time," Despines said, but to his knowledge Ohler had no relationship with Dixon.
"This was not a domestic" incident, he said, refuting that description contained in a news release issued by the city, but not the police department, soon after the shooting.
That release was issued in part to alert the public that the shooting prompted the closing Thursday night of the city's Festival of Lights Winter Wonderland display at the Fondulac Golf Course, located a short distance from Dixon's home.
Despines said Ohler, who had lived in Peoria for about six months but in the past apparently had resided in New Mexico, came to the home a short time before the shooting took place.
He was inside the residence when he pulled a handgun and shot Dixon, then shot himself, Despines said. The weapon was recovered.
The Tazewell County Coroner's Office identified Dixon as the deceased following an autopsy conducted Friday. Results of the autopsy will remain withheld pending toxicology tests, the office said.
While Ohler technically is in police custody while at the hospital, no formal charges from the shootings had been filed by Friday. Despines said Ohler's injuries likely would keep him hospitalized for some time.