ITHACA, N.Y. — A man accused of shooting a person in the Ithaca Commons early Sunday morning allegedly admitted that he committed the crime, while he was being interviewed by police.

Yakez Cornett, 22, is charged with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He’s currently being held without bail at the Tompkins County Jail.

According to witnesses at the scene, Cornett bumped into another man and the two began arguing. A friend separated the two of them, and while they were walking away, they heard gunshots.

Yakez Cornett Sr. was arrested on Sunday morning and is being accused of shooting a man in the Ithaca Commons. Provided photo

Cornett fired several shots at another man — who refused to fight him over the incident — in the back and leg. He also appeared to fire in the air or toward the crowd. The man then ran toward North Aurora Street and turned left.  Nobody else was injured.

Read more details about what happened the morning of the shooting here. 

Several people at the scene were noted in the court documents as having helped treat the victim’s wounds or assisted police in finding Cornett.

Luke Urbanek, who did not witness the shooting, told police that he was eating pizza when he heard gunshots.

“I served in Afghanistan so I was able to recognize gunshots. I heard one loud pop, then other loud popping noises, there were about 6 -9 gunshots total. I knew someone had to be hurt, I wanted to respond to the area to attempt to help due to having some traumatic medical training through the military,” he said.

Urbanek then went toward Silky Jones and saw a man on the ground.

“I then met up with police I asked an officer for some gloves, which he gave me. I put on the rubber gloves, then responded to the victim who was on the ground in front of Silky Jones bar. I then began to examine the victim. I observed a gunshot wound right below his right shoulder on his back. I saw blood also on the ground. I began to apply pressure to that bullet wound,” Urbanek told police. “He told me he didn’t know what happened.”

When EMS officials arrived at the scene, they took over providing first aid to the victim.

Two other passersby also helped at the scene, when they recognized the shooter trying to blend in with the fleeing crowd.

They said they saw the shooter near Bank Alley.

“I saw a (the) same male wearing a red hoodie and (he) looked very nervous but trying not to show how nervous he was. I knew it was the same male I had seen fire off the shots just a few minutes before…he wasn’t walking fast or slow just seemed too casual for what had just happened,” the witness said. He told a nearby police officer where the man was headed.

The other witness saw the shooter and called 911. He eventually saw the same man he says fired the gun get taken into custody by police on North Cayuga Street by the Cornell Store in the Commons.

Friends of the man who was shot identified the person they say was the shooter in a photo lineup.

One of them said, “That face, I will never forget. I got a good look at his face.”

According to police, they found a .380 gun in Cornett’s hoodie when he was taken into custody.

Cornett also allegedly told police, “I’m the person you’re looking for. You ain’t got to look for nobody else. I did it.”

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.