ALTON, Ill. (AP) — Federal marshals say a suspect in an East St. Louis killing fatally shot himself as authorities who had searched for him for months closed in to arrest him.

Southern Illinois’ top U.S. marshal, Don Slazinik, says 25-year-old Mortez Custer was found shot in the head in a closet Wednesday at a home in the Mississippi River city of Alton. He was found as federal marshals and Alton police converged on him.

Custer had eluded authorities since last December, when St. Clair County prosecutors say he shot and killed 39-year-old Roderick Thornton.

Police say that after being wounded on his East St. Louis front porch, Thornton managed to run down the street before collapsing and dying.

A judge had set Custer’s bond at $2 million.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


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