Beloit police said Monday they are looking for a man they believe was at a business on the city’s east side Saturday with a Janesville man who later was found shot to death.
Police said the man has lighter skin, a thin build and is between 5 feet, 10 inches and 6 feet, 2 inches tall.
He was wearing a red hooded sweatshirt with white lettering on the front, blue jeans and red tennis shoes Saturday, Beloit City Police Capt. Thomas Stigler said at a news conference Monday afternoon.
The body of James Tomten, 28, of Janesville was found in a Cadillac Escalade SUV in the 800 block of Vine Street on Beloit’s west side after authorities were dispatched at 2:41 p.m. Saturday.
In a video police shared with media, the man in the red sweatshirt is seen approaching a Cadillac Escalade that is believed to be the same vehicle Tomten was found dead in Saturday afternoon.
The man in the red sweatshirt peers into the passenger side window of the Escalade and then walks away.
Police would not identify the business where the video was recorded. Stigler said Tomten later was shot in the vehicle and is believed to have been driving it when the incident occurred.
Stigler said police are investigating all possibilities that lead to the killing. He would not say if narcotics were found in the vehicle. Tomten and the man who killed him had “some type of relationship,” Stigler said.
Police are asking anyone with information on the homicide or the man in the red sweatshirt or who saw the vehicle prior to the incident to call 608-364-6803.
A forensic autopsy completed at the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office on Sunday revealed Tomten’s death was the result of homicidal firearm trauma, according to a release from the Rock County Medical Examiner’s Department.
Additional testing is underway.
Authorities were notified at about 2:41 p.m. Saturday of a running SUV parked on a snowbank along Vine Street. A Beloit police spokeswoman said the homicide happened at about 12:20 p.m.
Stigler said the incident likely wasn’t reported for more than two hours because the weather was frigid and most people in the neighborhood were indoors. He said the vehicle did not crash or make a loud noise when it jumped the curb into the snowbank.
Stigler said “cooperation from the neighborhood” puts the vehicle on Vine Street at 12:20 p.m.
A person who lives on Vine Street told a Gazette reporter that Tomten’s body lay covered in a white sheet for about three hours while police combed the street and spoke with neighbors.
Online court records list Tomten’s address in October as 242 W. Burbank Ave., Janesville.
At Monday’s press conference, Stigler said the public is no danger and that Saturday’s incident was “not a random act.”
“We have a very safe city. The amount of violent crime in the city has been reduced from what it was years ago,” Stigler said. “There was a relationship between these two people, and the activities that they were involved in probably led to this crime that occurred.”