The Ithaca man accused of shooting a Silky Jones patron on the Ithaca Commons early Sunday morning shot multiple rounds, fled the scene and ditched his jacket before confessing to police once authorities found him nearby, according to police and witness statements filed in court on Monday.
Yakez D. Cornett, 22, has been charged with attempted murder in the second degree, assault in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, all felonies. He is being held at Tompkins County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Police say Cornett used a .380 caliber, semi-automatic BERSA Firestorm handgun to shoot the victim multiple times in the leg and back area around 1:24 a.m. on Sunday morning.
In a notice of intent to use Cornett’s statements, Ithaca Police Officer Lewis Morse quoted Cornett appearing to admit to the crime about 10 minutes after the shooting occurred.
“I’m the person your (sic) looking for,” Morse said Cornett told him. “You ain’t got to look for nobody else. I did it.”
Asked by another Ithaca Police officer where he was coming from, Cornett said “The bar,” according to another notice of intent.
In statements to police, five witnesses all said they heard or saw at least five gunshots, with one saying he heard up to nine shots.
One witness said a man wearing a gray jacket and red sweatshirt shoved him from behind outside of Silky Jones on the Commons.
The witness said the shove in his lower back “felt very aggressive, and on purpose.”
The same man had “bumped into me twice before while inside the bar,” the witness said. “There was no interaction the first two times inside the bar, I took it as a mistake.”
The man, who the witness later identified as the same man police had in custody, then began arguing with the man who was ultimately shot, according to the witness.
“While they were arguing the male began to walk backwards while reaching under his jacket and in his hoodie,” the witness said, adding later: “The male took about four steps backwards, he pulled out a gun with his right hand.”
“The male aimed the gun down towards [the victim’s] legs. The male then shot one round and shot [the victim] in his legs.”
The witness said he was able to identify the victim because he “will never forget” his face and because the two were wearing the same pair of shoes — white, red and black Jordan 13s.
Another witness, Luke Urbanek, said he heard loud bangs on the Commons shortly after leaving a pizza shop and, due to his service in Afghanistan, recognized them as gunshots.
Urbanek said in a statement to authorities that a police officer gave him rubber gloves and he examined the victim, drawing on traumatic medical training he had received in the military.
“I observed a gunshot wound right below [the victim’s] right shoulder on his back,” he said. “I saw blood also on the ground.”
The victim then told Urbanek he had been shot in the right leg, the good samaritan told police.
Another witness, a dishwasher at Simeon’s, said he saw a man looking “nervous” walking out of the alley near American Craft.
“I knew it was the same male I had seen fire off the shots just a few minutes before,” the witness said. “It was odd that he was coming out of the alley behind American Craft because no one ever walks out of that alley.”
Shown an array of photos by police, the witness said he did not recognize the shooter in any of the pictures.
“Gun violence is a terrifying departure from the norm for our City,” Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 said in a Facebook post. “I want to thank IPD and all the first responders for doing so much to return our sense of security.”