Ithaca Commons shooting: 'Our primary suspect is in custody'

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Police have arrested a man they say is a "primary suspect" in a shooting that happened early Sunday morning in the Ithaca Commons.

"Our primary suspect is in custody," Acting Police Chief Pete Tyler said.

Police were called to the Ithaca Commons around 1:20 a.m. to respond to reports of a shooting. A witness said one man was shot in his back and leg. Tyler said nobody else was injured during the shooting, and the victim was awake and conscious when he was transported to a hospital.

A witness -- who spoke on the condition of anonymity while at the Ithaca Police Headquarters -- said his friend was shot after a man bumped into his brother in front of Silk Jones, a bar on the Ithaca Commons.

"It started from a shoulder bump," he said, and the man instantly became antagonistic toward him and his friend.

A witness at the scene, Charlie Berrios, 51, said he was directly outside the bar when the shooting happened and saw two men arguing.

"All of a sudden, a guy wanted to throw hands," Berrios said, meaning that the shooter wanted to fight.

The other man said he didn't have time for that and started walking toward South Cayuga Street.

Berrios then saw the man who wanted to fight pull out a gun and shoot the person walking away.

"He shot him three or four times," Berrios said. "He started blasting. You saw the flames coming out the gun."

Berrios said the shooter then allegedly shot toward people in the crowd before running away. Berrios also said he saw the man take a left on North Aurora Street.

Another man, Luke Urbanek, was seen in a video helping the man who'd been shot, allegedly, in the back. Ithaca Police escorted him to the IPD headquarters to make a statement.

Another woman, who asked to stay anonymous, said she exited an apartment on East Seneca Street, and heard several sounds that seemed like gunshots, but she wasn't sure.

"A bunch of people flooded out from the Tioga Street exit (of The Ithaca Commons) and started running," she said, and that's when she knew something was wrong. So she ran with the crowd toward the intersection of North Cayuga and East Seneca streets.

There, she said the crowd stopped running but quickly began scattering again. She said she walked on North Cayuga Street and saw police crowded around the sidewalk near the Cornell Store at the end of The Commons.

"I saw a cop pointing a gun at somebody who was lying on the ground," she said.

Another police officer had the person pinned to the ground and at least one other officer was assisting.

The woman said she saw police take the person into custody. She provided a video of the arrest to The Ithaca Voice, corroborating her story.

Tyler said the suspect is being interviewed and investigators are at a hospital with the man who was shot.

District Attorney Matt Van Houten arrived at IPD headquarters around 3:40 a.m.