After more than a full decade, police claim to have caught the men who shot and killed the nephew of late U.S. representative and civil rights luminary Elijah Cummings during a burglary at the victim’s off-campus home on June 10, 2011. The lauded Maryland Democrat, who died in 2019, would not live to see what police describe as the solving of the cold case.
Police identified then-20-year-old college student Christopher Cummings’s accused killers as Kwaume L. Edwards, 32, Javon L. Doyle, 31, Ahmad R. Watson, 30; and Rashad D. Dooley, 28. The four have been charged with first-degree murder and other counts, according to cops in Norfolk, Va.
10 years ago Brother Christopher Cummings of the Zeta Pi chapter had his life taken from him as a victim of senseless violence. Last night 4 arrests were made in connection to his death. We send our love and condolences to his family. May he Rest In Peace and continue to be loved pic.twitter.com/If8956J2mM
— Theta Chi ODU (@ThetaChiODU) August 13, 2021
“For more than a decade now Investigators have been relentless in their efforts to solve this case, they have followed up on every lead necessary to ensure the Norfolk Police Department was able to deliver justice to both the surviving victim and to the Cummings family,” said Norfolk Police Chief Larry D. Boone. “I want to recognize all the hard work and the level of commitment and professionalism of all those who were involved in bringing this investigation to a close.”
On top of killing Christopher Cummings, the quartet also injured his friend, survivor Jake Carey, authorities say. Both Cummings and Carey were students at Old Dominion University.
According to then-contemporaneous reporting, Jake Carey sustained five gunshot wounds, one of which struck him in the neck and temporarily knocked out his ability to speak. But Jake Carey was able to write notes to family and police describing what happened, his uncle Dale Carey told The Washington Post in 2011. The paper reported that the sound of gunshots woke up Jake. He ran out of his room and saw Christopher Cummings fall on top of the stairs. Other people were upstairs too, but he saw “flashes and sounds” on being shot, according to the Post.
The case went unsolved for years, with Christopher’s parents James Cummings and Rosa Cummings voicing grief and frustration in the press.
“It’s extremely frustrating because right now we’re no further ahead then we were, I’d say a month after the murder,” James told WAVY in a June 10, 2020, report. He prayed every morning in his son’s room, according to the report.
“I mean, he was my soul,” Rosa said. “They took my life away. I am not the same person that I was.”
“Whoever the persons were that did this—believe me, believe me—will do it again,” Rep. Cummings told WVEC in August 2011. “You don’t kill somebody that viciously and not do it again.”
The congressman died in 2019 from what his office described as health complications.
Police did not elaborate on the forensic evidence that they say linked the murder on Edwards, Doyle, Watson, and Dooley. All four of them are from Newport News, Va., cops said. Authorities announced:
The four men have been charged with the following: homicide; first degree murder; conspiracy to commit first degree murder; use of a firearm in commission of first degree murder; burglary with the intent to commit murder with a deadly weapon; conspiracy to commit burglary with a deadly weapon; use of a firearm in commission of an armed burglary; aggravated malicious wounding; use of firearm in commission of aggravated malicious wounding; attempted second degree murder; use of firearm in attempted commission of second degree murder; two counts each of discharging a firearm in an occupied dwelling; attempted robbery; use of firearm in commission of a robbery.
They are being held without bond, police said. It is unclear if they have attorneys in this matter.
Despite the arrests, police continue to ask the public to provide any information they might have about the case. You can reach the Norfolk Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP, or submit an anonymous tip at NorfolkCrimeLine.com, cops said.
Christopher Cummings’ father welcomed news of the arrests, but noted his son’s death is an irreparable loss.
“While my son is lying cold in his coffin, these guys are out there running the streets, so it’s good to have them off the streets,” James Cummings said, according to 13 News Now. “As far as life is concerned, life won’t change that much for us because we will never get our son back and we have to live the way we have been living.”
[Booking photos via Norfolk Police Department]
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