Annapolis, MD – The mother of an incoming U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) midshipman candidate was shot repeatedly by stray bullets while sitting on the patio area of a hotel in Annapolis early on Tuesday morning.
Houston resident Michelle Jordan Cummings, 57, and her husband had travelled to Maryland to see their son, Leonard Cummings III, inducted into the prestigious academy, KHOU reported.
“She beamed. She was so excited about it, so happy that her baby was going be a midshipman, and everyone that met her, she radiated motherhood, happiness,” her friend, Veranna Phillips, told WBAL. “Just such a wonderful woman.”
The fatal shooting occurred at approximately 12:30 a.m. on June 29, as Michelle Cummings and her husband were siting on a patio at the Graduate Hotel on West Street with another couple, WTOP reported.
According to police, someone opened fire on two people sitting in a parked vehicle on nearby Pleasant Street, sending bullets in Michelle Cummings’ general direction.
She was hit multiple times, WTOP reported.
“Officers and emergency medical services personnel attempted all life-saving measures, but the victim was pronounced deceased at the scene,” Annapolis Police Chief Edward Jackson said during a press conference on Tuesday, according to WBAL.
“What turned out to be a celebratory occasion for the family, celebrating their son going to one of the best institutions in the United States, turned into a tragic event,” Chief Jackson said.
Investigators said they have no reason to believe Michelle Cummings was the intended target, WTOP reported.
The occupants of the vehicle were not injured in the attack, according to police.
The shooter has not been apprehended.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for Michelle Cummings’ murder, WTTG reported.
“You come here with the expectation to see your son go on a journey, one of the most exciting times of his life, to only be met by a reckless shooter,” Chief Jackson told reporters, according to WBAL. “So, what I’ll say to the shooter: Turn yourself in, we’re coming after you.”
Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley released a statement in the wake of Michelle Cummings’ murder, noting that a violence intervention team has been sent in to provide support to her family, KHOU reported.
“There is no circumstance where this can be tolerated,” Buckley said. “My sympathies go out to the family. We are focused on getting guns off the street, but it only takes one criminal with a gun for the results to be tragic. This was a horrific outcome for the kind of everyday gun violence that many cities across America see. Annapolis is sadly not immune.”
Vice Admiral Sean Buck released a statement on Tuesday night on behalf of the U.S. Naval Academy.
“As members of our Naval Academy family, we will do all that we can to support Leonard, his father and the entire Cummings family during this unfathomable time,” he wrote. “My wife, Joanne, and I, on behalf of all of us here in Annapolis, offer our deepest sympathies.”
Michelle Cummings was wildly supportive of her son’s educational and athletic pursuits, KHOU reported.
She served as president of the football booster club at Westfield High School during her son’s senior year, according to Spring Independent School District (ISD).
“We are devastated to hear about the passing of Michelle Cummings,” Spring ISD told KHOU in a statement “Ms. Cummings was a very engaged parent at Westfield High School where her son Leonard ‘Trey’ Cummings III graduated in 2020.”
After helping lead his high school football team to the state semifinals in 2019, Leonard Cummings went on to attend the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island, KHOU reported.
He moved to the main campus one year later, according to Spring ISD.
Leonard Cummings has opted to move forward with the U.S. Naval Academy induction activities and is expected to take his oath on Wednesday night, WBFF reported.
A fundraising campaign established to help the family in the wake of their loss has raised almost $90,000 as of Wednesday afternoon.