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Cortez Young

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A barrage of gunshots that were fired in the 1300 block of Lynch Avenue about 9:30 p.m. Saturday left one man dead and another slightly injured.

Police identified the victim as Cortez Young, 23, of 943 Fair Oak Drive in Belleville.

He is the 29th homicide in East St. Louis this year.

Young was sitting in his vehicle with two friends, just minutes before this shooting, East St. Louis Detective Michael Floore said.

Witnesses said he got out of his car to work on a windshield wiper.

The gunman came out of nowhere. A passenger in the car, who police did not identify, noticed the gunman and told the victim to drive off.

"He attempted to pull away, but his car spun around in the snow," Floore said.

The assailant began firing his gun. As the gunshots were being fired in rapid succession, the victim was struck in the back of his head, Police Chief Michael Baxton said.

The bullets also sprayed the vehicle, causing glass to break from the front windshield, the passenger side and the rear of the vehicle, Baxton said.

Floore said police responded to the 1400 block of Lynch where the victim drove after the violent attack.

"They shot the vehicle up. There are bullet holes all over it. We believe eight to 10 rounds went through the vehicle," Baxton said.

After the shooting, police "determined that the driver had been killed and another man who was a passenger in the car was grazed by a bullet," Baxton said.

A third person in the car was unharmed, Baxton said. The car is a tan Hyundai Elantra, he said.

Police have not yet identified any suspects or established a motive for the killing, Baxton said.

He said police did not find a weapon Saturday night. Detectives combed the vicinity of the shooting and were back at the scene Sunday.

As of 4:30 p.m., they had not made any arrests.

"We need the public's help to find the shooter," Baxton said. "We're confident that if someone saw or heard something, they will come forward and help."

Police also received a call from the 1900 block of Lynch Avenue about two minutes after they were called out in regards to the shooting.

Baxton said a woman called in to say someone shot through a front window of her home.

Baxton said police have not yet been able to determine whether that case has any connection to the homicide.

"We're still investigating it at this time. We don't have anything yet that connects the two cases together," he said.

Published in Belleville News-Democrat from Dec. 17 to Dec. 22, 2007
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