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Man Accused Of Killing RTD Guard: Actions Were 'For Pleasure Of Allah'

By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) - The man charged in the murder of a Regional Transportation District security guard says his actions that night were to please Allah.

Joshua Cummings, 37, is charged with the Jan. 30 murder of RTD security guard Scott Von Lanken. What happened was a cold blooded murder -- a shot to the head -- but the reason behind it is still unclear. From his jail cell, by phone, Cummings told CBS4 three days after his arrest he pledged his allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State.

Joshua Cummings
Joshua Cummings (credit: Denver Police)

"I give my bay'ah (pledge) to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and I am committed to being a soldier for the Islamic State," he told CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger.

Cummings would not say if he committed the murder.

"On the night in question, what I did do, I didn't do that for the Islamic State. I did that purely and solely for the pleasure of Allah," Cummings said.

He would not explain why his actions that night would have been for God.

Cummings was found a short time after the killing nearby with a gun the same caliber as the shells found at the murder scene. He was carrying Islamic literature. He says whatever he did that night was not in the name of ISIS.

"The reason why it was not for ISIS is because in 1996 I took a pledge to uphold and defend the constitution of the United States, and if you obey officers appointed over me," he said. "And the president, commander in chief of the United States, the military and I ratified that in '97."

Cummings said while in jail it took him three days to purge that oath by reading he Koran and dedicate his allegiance to the Islamic State.

Scott Von Lanken
Scott Von Lanken (credit CBS)

When asked if he knew the person who died that night was not a police officer he said he could not answer that at this time.

CBS4's Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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