Naval Academy families offer support after candidate's mother was hit, killed by stray bullet in Annapolis

Police in Annapolis are continuing to search for a murderer after a woman whose son was about to be inducted into the Naval Academy was shot and killed on a hotel patio.

After the shooting, friends are rallying around family of Michelle Jordan Cummings, 57.

The shooting happened around 12:20 a.m. Tuesday at The Graduate Hotel on West Street, about a mile from the Maryland State House.

Cummings’ son, Leonard Cummings III goes by Trey. He plans to play football for the Academy. 

"Michelle was so happy that Trey is about to start his journey at the Naval Academy," friend Veranna Phillips said.

Phillips’ son is also starting that journey and playing football. They both dropped their sons off Monday ahead of Wednesday’s induction ceremony, and she spoke to Cummings hours before she lost her life.

RELATED: Annapolis police ID Naval Academy Midshipman candidate's mother who was allegedly killed by stray bullet

"We were so excited that they are here," Phillips said.

Police say Cummings, who was here from Houston, Texas, was out on the hotel patio with her husband and another couple. It was after midnight when investigators believe a shot was fired from behind the hotel on Pleasant Street. They say the stray bullet struck Cummings and killed her.

"You come here with the expectation to see your son go on a journey, one of the most exciting times of his life, only to be met by a reckless shooter," Annapolis Police Chief Edward Jackson said. "So what I’ll say to the shooter, ‘Turn yourself in. We’re coming after you.’"

Chief Jackson says shootings in this area are extremely rare, but there was an altercation of some sort that preceded the deadly incident.

"Multiple shots were fired at individuals in a parked car and, unfortunately, one of the shots made it to the hotel," he said.

Cummings’ son, Trey, tweeted tonight, only saying "Why?" Families tell FOX 5 that he will be inducted as planned on Wednesday.

"Basically, that’s what his mom would want him to do," Phillips said. "And he’s strong, probably stronger than I could be."

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Phillips lives in Maryland and is among a tight-knit group of football mothers known as Motherhood to the Brotherhood. They immediately started a fundraiser for the family.

FOX 5 spoke by phone to another mother who was overcome with emotion as she vowed to continue to support the family in the years to come.

"Trey wants to take the oath tomorrow with his class. A lot of the mothers will be there for support tomorrow," Shiri Ndang said. "We’re going to be there for the family every step of the way."

The Naval Academy also tweeted Tuesday evening, saying: "Earlier today, the @AnnapolisPD identified the woman shot and killed earlier this morning as Michelle Jordan Cummings of Houston. She was the proud mom of Midshipman Candidate Leonard Cummings III, a 2021 NAPS grad & incoming plebe (freshman) for the USNA Class of 2025. 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. My wife, Joanne, and I, on behalf of all of us here in Annapolis, offer our deepest sympathies. - VADM Buck"