The Cadillac Escalade SUV where James Tomten, 28, of Janesville, was killed in the 800 block of Vine Street on Beloit’s west side.


Police have a suspect and possible motive in the Feb. 9 shooting of a Janesville man in Beloit, according to a search warrant affidavit filed at the Rock County Courthouse.

The affidavit gives a variety of details about what police think happened when James M. Tomten, 28, was shot and killed, including the suggestion the shooting might have been a drug deal gone bad.

The information also includes suggestions the suspect has left the area. The Gazette is not revealing his identity because he has not been arrested or charged.

When asked for comment on details of the search warrant, Beloit Police Chief David Zibolski responded with a written statement saying the search warrant should have been sealed and asking news media not to release information from the search warrant.

The Gazette later talked with Beloit Police Capt. Tom Stigler about what parts of the search warrant police believe could endanger the safety of individuals involved and edited this story accordingly.

As reported earlier, Tomten was found dead in an SUV on a west-side residential street about 2:38 p.m. that Saturday. He had been shot more than two hours earlier, according to the affidavit.

Tomten’s wife told a detective Tomten had been at the Save-A-Lot grocery store at 1223 Park Ave. just before the shooting and had $4,000 to $5,000 in cash with him, according to the search warrant affidavit.

Video shows a person in a red hooded sweatshirt looking into Tomten’s parked SUV at 12:11 p.m. He appears to be talking on a cellphone and then gets into the SUV with Tomten when Tomten exits the store, according to the affidavit.

Video shows the SUV leaving the parking lot at 12:15 p.m., headed toward the place where Tomten was found, the 800 block of Vine Street, according to the document.

Police earlier said “cooperation from the neighborhood” puts Tomten’s vehicle on Vine Street at 12:20 p.m.

A witness told police a relative of the suspect had said months earlier the suspect was using crack cocaine and was robbing drug dealers, according to the affidavit.

Police talked to the suspect’s wife Feb. 15. She said he had a crack cocaine problem, but she thought he was getting better, according to the affidavit.

Police executed the search warrant at a Beloit home and found a firearm purchase receipt, a fishing license for the suspect, a smartphone, a bag with various kinds of ammunition, .22-caliber ammunition that was unfired or misfired, and five red hooded sweatshirts.

Tomten’s survivors include his wife, a high school sweetheart he married last June 25, and four children, according to his obituary.