Mayor of SW Illinois village fatally shot

April 1, 2010 2:18:15 PM PDT
Two people are now in custody in connection to the murder of an Illinois mayor.Washington Park Mayor John Thornton was found inside his car after crashing into a tree at 6 a.m. He had been shot and was pronounced dead at a hosptial.

Washington Park is about 10 miles east of St. Louis.

Police believe someone flagged Thornton down and asked for a dollar. Residents said he was known for driving through the city and stopping to help people in need.

"He was just a people person, you know. Wherever... uh? you I say, if you come up and you needed something, I mean, he was there. He'd give it to you right there with no hesitation," said John Thornton, Jr., mayor's son.

Police said a witness heard two gunshots before Thornton's car struck the tree. The gunman then limped to a waiting car and fled.

Police have taken two people into custody in connection with the shooting.