JEFFERSON COUNTY — According to Mt. Vernon Police Chief Chris Deichman, a large fight broke out Sunday during a candlelight vigil held for a 26-year-old Mt. Vernon man found shot dead early that morning.
Deichman says the crowd had gathered Sunday night at the intersection of 19th and Conger for a candlelight vigil for Cortez Pickett.
The Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS), a law enforcement mutual aid, was activated to assist with crowd control at the vigil, with seven officers from around the area — including one from Centralia — responding to Mt. Vernon to the vigil, which was held in an empty lot next to the scene of what is being investigated as a homicide.
At approximately 5:50 Sunday morning, Mt. Vernon police responded to a report of an unresponsive person in the 800 block of South 19th Street at Conger Avenue.
When officers arrived, they found the Pickett deceased. Jefferson County Coroner Eddie Joe Marks says Picket was shot one time and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The investigation into the shooting is ongoing, and law enforcement continues working on a number of leads in the case, and has spoken with at least 100 people trying to solve the case.
Police believe Picket’s girlfriend was the one who found him.
They carried out a raid at an apartment in the Willow Springs complex shortly after the shooting, searching for a suspect. The search warrant was served in an attempt to track down a lead from the investigation, but resulted in a dead end.
Anyone with information regarding the death investigation, please contact Capt. Bullard at (618) 242-2131.