Reward Increased In Killing Of Midshipman's Mom In Annapolis As FBI, ATF Join Investigation; Naval Academy Rallies Around Her Son
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- The senseless killing of Michelle Jordan Cummings has shaken even veteran members of law enforcement who are now offering more reward money—a combined $22,000—to catch the Navy mom's killer.
"I'm a mother as well. I know the pride that she must have felt bringing her son to start his new life as a midshipman only to have her life cut so senselessly short," said Rachel Byrd, the Acting Special Agent In Charge of the FBI's Baltimore field office.
Cummings, who is from Houston, was visiting Annapolis for her son Leonard "Trey" Cummings III's induction into the Naval Academy. She was sitting on the patio of The Graduate Hotel with her husband and friends just after midnight Tuesday when police say she was likely hit by two stray bullets.
Police believe the targets were likely two people sitting in an SUV on Pleasant Street behind the hotel.
Annapolis police said detectives have interviewed the two along with other witnesses. Chief Edward Jackson told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren they have recovered multiple videos.
"I'm a bit emotional with this case because of the way it happened. This is a true victim and my heart continues to go out to the family," Chief Jackson said.
Those likely targets were not injured. The chief said he was still waiting for autopsy results.
Despite the tragedy, the victim's son has decided to stay at the Naval Academy and play football. He will be granted a leave to grieve this terrible loss.
"I'm not sure the 18-year-old version of myself would look like him today. I was absolutely blown away by the strength that he's demonstrated," said Lt. Col. Todd McCarthy, who is in charge of plebe summer.
Trey Cummings tweeted one word after his mother's death: "Why?"
The tight-knit community has rallied around the Cummings family—including fellow parents on the Navy football team.
"Just know how fragile life is and our hearts and prayers are with their family," said Elizabeth Hixon. She and her husband stayed in the same hotel and used the same patio just three weeks before the killing—but told WJZ they still believe Annapolis is safe.
The community had raised close to $100,000 for the Cummings family through a GoFundMe page as of Wednesday evening.
Chief Jackson said he met with Trey and gave him this advice: "The best way you can honor the legacy of your mom is to make her proud by walking across that stage and receiving your degree and your commission from the United States Navy."
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