UPDATE: Murder Investigation: Two People Killed In Beloit

By: Dana Brueck Email
By: Dana Brueck Email

UPDATED Monday, July 5, 2010 -- 4:00 p.m.
By NBC15's Dana Brueck

"It's wrong... both of them got kids... it was just wrong," Bonnie McAlister says.

A young mother and a young father were murdered this Fourth of July weekend in Beloit. The two were found dead in a vehicle around midnight Sunday morning in Beloit.

"I miss her jokes." Bonnie McAlister cannot hold back the tears as she recalled her 24-year-old daughter, Latoya Payton.

"We was real close... sit in the garage, hang out."

She holds a picture of mother and daughter taken earlier this year.

"She was my baby ... my best friend. She and I talked about everything... did everything together."

Toya and 27-year-old Cortez Johnson were found dead in a vehicle around midnight Sunday morning. Police were called for a report of a shooting when they discovered the pair. Capt. Bill Tyler says investigators are making progress, having searched a residence and vehicle as part of the case.

"We've had some good luck... served a couple of search warrants and we're focusing on some persons of interest that are up on our radar ... see where that takes us," Tyler says.

McAlister says she saw her daughter before she was killed; but shortly afterward knew something was wrong.

"Last word she said to me... be right back... had a smile on her face."

"She never answered the phone... knew something was wrong because either would call right back when I called."

Toya leaves behind a 3-year-old son. Johnson had an 8-year-old boy.

"That's my oldest brother. I love him... 'just know bro, your son is gonna be taken care of man no matter what'," Johnson's brother, James, says.

McAlister says her daughter and Johnson had been seeing each other for a while, and Toya was looking forward to the future.

"She had her own place... just moved out... she was happy about that."

Police say they do not know why the couple was in the area where they were killed, but investigators believe the two were targeted, saying this was not a random act.

Autopsies were scheduled for Monday.

______________________________________________________

UPDATED Sunday, July 4 at 9:15 p.m.

Police have identified the victims as 27-year-old Cortez Johnson and 24-year-old Latoya Payton. Both are from Beloit.

Neighbors, who live in the area where the shooting happened, say it's normally pretty quiet. But early Sunday morning, that all changed.

"They whacked my brother, man. My oldest brother," said James Johnson.

Sunday morning, shortly after midnight, Beloit Police responded to a report of gun shots near the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and Parker Court. When they arrived, Cortez Johnson and Payton were found dead in a car.

"I don't, man," added Johnson, "I don't really know nothing. All I know that my brother dead. Someone going to pay for it."

Johnson said his brother, Cortez, worked in Delavan where he had a shoe store and auto shop. He also had a young son.

"My brother was a kind dude, man. He was a people person, man. He don't mess with nobody."

Holly Tillett's husband heard the gunshots. Three in all.

Said Tillett, "He had thought he heard gunshots, but there's fireworks and stuff going off too. So, he kind of didn't know for sure what it was exactly."

Tillett has lived on this block for the past ten years.

"It's rather quiet for the last 10 years," she said. "This is the first time in 10 years we actually had shots on our street. So, it's kind of freaky actually."

"He was a giving person. He was a people person," added Johnson's cousin Zeke Johnson. "Everybody liked him. If you knew him you'd of liked him too."

Police are still looking for persons of interest in this case. If you have any information, you're asked to call Beloit Police.

______________________________________________________

UPDATED Sunday, July 4, 2010 --- 6:31 p.m.

BELOIT, Wis. (AP) -- Police in Beloit say they are investigating the shooting of two people found dead in a vehicle.

The department says officers responded to a reported shooting just after midnight Sunday where they found two adult victims in a vehicle. Paramedics responded but both were pronounced dead at the scene.

The victims have been identified as Cortez L. Johnson, 27, of Beloit; and Latoya M. Payton, 24, also of Beloit. They are scheduled for autopsies on Monday in Madison.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

______________________________________________________

UPDATED Sunday, July 4, 2010 --- 5:15 p.m.

From the Beloit Police Department:

The victims names from this morning's shooting have been released.

Cortez L. Johnson Male/Black DOB: 09/19/1982
Latoya M. Payton Female/Black DOB: 10/30/1985

Both victims lived in Beloit. Investigators continue to make progress in the investigation. Additional updates will be provided as the situation warrants.

______________________________________________________

UPDATED Sunday, July 4, 2010 --- 3:32 p.m.

BELOIT, Wis. (AP) -- Police in Beloit say they are investigating the shooting of two people found dead in a vehicle.

The department says officers responded to a reported shooting just after midnight Sunday where they found two adult victims in a vehicle. Paramedics responded but both were pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say they have identified the victims but did not immediately release their names, age or gender. They are scheduled for autopsies on Monday in Madison.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

______________________________________________________

Posted Sunday, July 4, 2010 --- 9:20 a.m.

Press Release from the Beloit Police Department:

On 07/04/2010 shortly after midnight, Beloit Police responded to a reported shooting in the area of Roosevelt Avenue and Parker Court. Upon arrival at the scene, officers found two adult victims in a vehicle.

Beloit Fire Department Paramedics responded to the scene and evaluated the victims. Both were pronounced dead at the scene. The Rock County Coroner's Office was notified and did respond to the scene. Additional police resources, including investigators and evidence technicians, were called to the scene.

Beloit Police investigators and evidence technicians remained on the scene throughout the night evaluating the scene. The victims were transported to Madison pending forensic autopsies on Monday, July 5, 2010. The victim vehicle was impounded pending the issuance of a search warrant. The victims have been identified, but the release of their names is being withheld pending the notification of relatives.

Beloit Police are investigating these deaths as homicides. Additional information may not be available until tomorrow.

Captain William Tyler
Beloit Police Department
100 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
NBC15 615 Forward Drive Madison, Wisconsin 53711 Business: 608-274-1515 Newsroom: 608-274-1500
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 97763179 - nbc15.com/a?a=97763179