Four men charged in 2011 killing of late Congressman Elijah Cummings’ nephew

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia police announced on Thursday that they have made four arrests in connection to the 2011 killing of Christopher Cummings, the nephew of late Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings.

“After 10 years this is really a great day for us, because we can’t bring our son back but at least we can make progress going forward,” his father, James Cummings, said in a Thursday afternoon interview.

Cummings, an Old Dominion University (ODU) student, was shot and killed in his home in the 800 block of West 42nd Street. His roommate, Jake Carey, was also shot during the incident and transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries but survived.

Police said in June 2020 that they had suspects in mind but needed a break in the case. Cummings says he doesn’t know what the break was, but police had told him as early as August 2011 they had strong leads.

Police say the four men, Kwaume L. Edwards, 32; Javon L. Doyle, 31; Ahmad R. Watson, 30; and Rashad D. Dooley, 28; all of Newport News, have been indicted on 15 charges each, including first-degree murder.

James Cummings had begun a vigil in his son’s bedroom after getting advice from his mother on how to deal with the loss.

“She said ‘Just go in and say the Lord’s prayer,’ and I think she meant for me to do it just a day or two, but I kept it up for 10 years,” he said. “Every morning if I’d go to work I’d have a picture of him on his bed and I’d talk to him and go in and pray.”

Norfolk’s police chief credited the work of his cold case detectives as well as the U.S. Marshals Service for the arrests.

“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 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.”  

The four men have been charged with the following: homicide; first-degree murder; conspiracy to commit first-degree murder; use of a firearm in the 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 the commission of an armed burglary; aggravated malicious wounding; use of a firearm in the commission of aggravated malicious wounding; attempted second-degree murder; use of a firearm in attempted commission of second-degree murder; two counts each of discharging a firearm in an occupied dwelling; attempted robbery; use of a firearm in the commission of a robbery.  

All four suspects are currently being held in jail without bond. One man is awaiting extradition to Norfolk from an out-of-state facility.  

One year ago Cummings’ mother said, “I mean, he was my soul. They took my life away — I am not the same person that I was.”

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