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Natchez man arrested after shooting relative during wedding reception

From The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — A Natchez man faces aggravated assault charges for allegedly shooting a relative with a shotgun Saturday night during a wedding reception at the Natchez Community Center.

Police charged 43-year-old Alton Jerome Cornett, 20 James Brown Ave., with aggravated assault after an altercation led to Cornett shooting a relative with at least one blast from a shotgun, Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong said. Cornett received Sunday a $250,000 bond for the incident.

The victim, Armstrong said, did not appear to sustain life-threatening injuries.

“It all started with an argument first, a fight and then (at least one shot),” Armstrong said.

The dispute began inside and eventually spilled outside, where the shooting occurred, Armstrong said.

Though Cornett and another individual were handcuffed and taken away in police cars late Saturday, the second individual was only questioned and not arrested, Armstrong said.

Police seized the weapon used in the altercation from Cornett’s vehicle, and Cornett admitted to police that he was the shooter, Armstrong said. While searching the premises, officers also recovered a spent shell investigators believe came from the weapon, Armstrong said.

Though police know the two men involved were relatives, Armstrong said, investigators are still determining what exactly sparked the conflict.

Authorities responded to calls of shots fired at approximately 10:30 p.m. Saturday at the community center, where multiple police units and at least one Adams County Sheriff’s Office unit arrived shortly after.

Though visitor Patricia Grey said she heard multiple shots from the Natchez Grand Hotel where she was attending a family reunion, Armstrong said Sunday afternoon police could only confirm that at least one shot was fired.

Cornett was being held at the Adams County Jail Sunday afternoon on a $250,000 bond.

Police are also investigating another, unrelated shooting that took place approximately half an hour after the community center shooting and just a few blocks away.

The second downtown shooting of the night took place on Abbott Street, where a man was struck while walking down the street. Police still did not have an update on the victim’s condition as of 2 p.m. Sunday.

The incident took place at approximately 11 p.m., when several rounds of rapid gunfire could be heard throughout downtown.

The victim, Armstrong said, told police that he was shot at and did not see a perpetrator or from where the shots came. Armstrong said no arrests have been made yet in the case.

Investigators currently believe the perpetrator(s) was on foot, and police had no leads and no determined motive as of late Sunday afternoon, Natchez Police Capt. Scott Frye said.

Police continue to investigate both incidences.