Governor adds to reward for mom gunned down during trip to drop off son at Naval Academy


(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) — A reward has climbed to more than $30,000 for the suspect who shot and killed a Houston mom while she was in Maryland to drop off her son at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Michelle Cummings, 57, was sitting on a hotel patio, enjoying the breeze, when she was shot multiple times just after midnight on Tuesday, Annapolis Police Chief Edward Jackson said.

Cummings was with her husband and another couple at the time, police said.

“It is believed that the shots were fired on Pleasant Street and traveled a short distance shooting the victim,” Jackson said at a news conference Tuesday.

Cummings didn’t appear to be the intended target, police said.

Cummings and her husband were in Annapolis to bring their son, a football prospect, to the U.S. Naval Academy, Jackson said.

Her son, Midshipman Candidate Leonard Cummings III, graduated this year from the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Rhode Island, and is an incoming freshman for the Naval Academy Class of 2025, the Academy said.

Last year, when he committed to the Naval Academy, Michelle Cummings told ABC Houston station KTRK-TV, “I love this kid dearly … We could not ask for a better son.”

Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck said in a statement, “We will do all that we can to support Leonard, his father and the entire Cummings family during this unfathomable time. My wife, Joanne, and I, on behalf of all of us here in Annapolis, offer our deepest sympathies.”

Leonard “Trey” Cummings graduated last year from Westfield High School in Texas, the Spring Independent School District said.

“Ms. Cummings was a very engaged parent,” the district said in a statement. “She served in 2019-20 as the president of the Westfield High School Football Booster Club and was always ready to support our student athletes. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Cummings family during this time of sorrow.

Jackson said at a Wednesday news conference, “I’m a bit emotional with this case … this is a true victim.”

Rachel Byrd of the FBI said Wednesday, “I know the pride she must have felt bringing her son to start his new life … only to have her life cut senselessly short.”

“Somebody has lost their mom on the proudest day, probably, of her life,” Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley told reporters Tuesday.

“We are focused on getting guns off the street, but it only takes one criminal with a gun for the results to be tragic,” Buckley said.

Jackson announced Wednesday that a reward of $22,000 was offered for information leading to the gunman’s arrest and conviction. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday said the state, at his direction, is adding another $10,000 to that reward.

The governor said he spoke to Michelle Cummings’ family on Thursday to offer his condolences.

Jackson on Wednesday said police have leads, though he declined to go into detail.

The mayor vowed, “The perpetrators will be found and they will be held to account.”

To the gunman, the chief said, “Turn yourself in — we’re coming after you.”

Police ask anyone with information to contact the department at 410-260-3439.

ABC News’ Sarah Shales, Ben Siu and Luis Martinez contributed to this report.

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