ITHACA, N.Y.—Police are still investigating leads in the homicide of Ernest Lankford, an Ithaca man who was killed near the intersection of West Seneca Street and North Plain Street early Thursday morning.

There have been no arrests made in the shooting, which took place around 3:30 a.m. on Oct. 12. Lankford was 45 years old and a father of five, according to two GoFundMe campaigns established by family members.

Both of those relatives declined requests for comment. 

Ithaca Police Department acting chief Ted Schwartz told The Ithaca Voice that while the investigation is “quite active and ongoing,” he would not release further information, including names or descriptions of any suspects. 

There has been no motive or narrative of the crime released to the public so far. Police said the shooting “does not appear to be a random act,” meaning Lankford was targeted, and there is no threat to the public. 

Several residents interviewed by The Ithaca Voice said they were sleeping during the incident, and only realized what happened when they awoke to a slew of police cars and crime scene tape in the morning.

One person, who asked not to be identified, said they were sleeping when they heard the gunshots. They called the police and said law enforcement arrived shortly after. In the morning, police could be seen marking where the seven shell casings had fallen on the street.

In the time since Lankford’s killing, a memorial was set up near where he was shot. It reads “Stop Ithaca, NY killings!”

Lankford’s homicide is the first in the city of Ithaca in 2023, though it is at least the third in the county.

Matt Butler is the Editor in Chief of The Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at