Ithaca Police identify suspect in shooting at downtown Ithaca bar

The Ithaca Police Department has identified a 22-year-old man from Ithaca as their suspect in a shooting on the Ithaca Commons that occurred late Saturday night outside Silky Jones.

A statement from IPD public information officer Jamie Williamson on Sunday evening identified 22-year-old Yakez Cornett, who was arraigned at about 9am Sunday in Ithaca City Court in front of Honorable Judge Scott Miller.

As of Sunday morning, the victim was in the hospital in “serious, but stable condition.” No updates have been provided.

Witnesses say the shooting occurred not long after last call at Silky Jones, a Downtown Ithaca bar that recently changed hands and has moved away from its cocktail lounge image to focus on beer.

“We have no reason to believe this incident was random,” said Ithaca Police Department acting chief Pete Tyler, “but more specifically an altercation between two people.” Chief Tyler added, “It was resolved very quickly as a result of excellent communication between law enforcement, dispatch and cooperative witnesses.”

The shooting at about 1:20am resulted in “chaos just as all the bars were emptying,” according to a witness. Tompkins County bars must stop selling alcoholic beverages at 1am by law, and customers typically leave between about 1:15 and 1:30am. The cluster of bars on and around the Ithaca Commons means late-night patrons are often milling around the pedestrian plaza, or getting a snack at one of the late-night eateries, for a while after the bars close.

Chief Tyler tells 14850 Today that “IPD usually does have extra patrols,” including “at least one walking beat officer, on or around the Commons with particular emphasis around the bars” at closing time. “Obviously this can fluctuate depending on call volume and where our units are responding,” he says.

The man in custody is “being charged with attempted murder, assault in the second degree, and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree,” according to Mayor Svante Myrick. The mayor referred to it as “a personal dispute” that “turned violent” and “resulted in a shooting.”

“Gun violence is a terrifying departure from the norm for our City,” Mayor Myrick said in a Facebook post on Sunday morning, “and I want to thank IPD and all the first responders for doing so much to return our sense of security.”

“I’m very proud of the efforts of our officers and thankful for the assistance we received from the other agencies and DA’s office,” said Chief Tyler.

Another assault on the Ithaca Commons late last Friday night, just as bars closed, sent a man to Robert Packer Hospital for treatment for “a stab wound to his left upper chest/neck.”

IPD asks that anyone who might know more about the incident, or with other information that might aid their investigation, contact them through police dispatch at 607-272-3245, the administration line at 607-272-9973, the Crimestoppers Tipline at 607-697-0333, or the anonymous online tip form.

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