A deadly crime spree unfolded on Saturday, leaving seven people, including a 12-year-old girl, dead in a rural part of Sumner County. An eighth person was injured and the suspect was wounded and is in custody.
Michael Cummins, 25, was captured after a manhunt, which lasted approximately six hours into Saturday evening following a search that involved approximately 150 officers from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Sumner County Sheriff's Department, the Sumner County SWAT Team, the Portland Police Department, Westmoreland Police Department, Gallatin Police Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Cummins was captured and shot in the leg shortly after he emerged from a creek shortly after 10 p.m., about 500 yards or so from the site where the majority of the crime took place at 1177 Charles Brown Road, Westmoreland. The area is near the rural Providence community about 10 miles east of Portland.
Sumner County Sheriff Sonny Weatherford called the tragedy one of the worst he has seen in his time in law enforcement in the county.
"As far as tragedies are concerned, about the only thing I could compare it to was the 2006 tornado that ripped through Sumner County and killed a number of people," Weatherford told the Portland Leader.
Three of the seven deceased are direct relatives of Cummins, as well as the injured woman who remains hospitalized. The deceased include his parents and an uncle, plus a 12-year-old
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girl, who was believed to be a sixth-grader at Westmoreland Middle School.
The deceased were identified as Cummins' father, David Carl Cummins, 51, and mother, Clara Jane Cummins, 44; the suspect's uncle Charles Edward Hosale, 45, and three females at the residence -- Rachel Dawn McGlothlin-Pee, 43, Sapphire McGlothlin-Pee, Rachel's 12-year-old daughter, and Marsha Elzabeth Nuckols, 64. Rachel's mother.
There was another woman, Cummins' grandmother, who was severely beaten and was life-flighted to a Nashville hospital after being transported to Sulphur Fork Missionary Baptist Church to meet the medical helicopter.
Cummins' killing spree on Saturday is believed to have begun at another residence, 1555 Luby Brown Road. Shirley B. Fehrle, 69, was found dead at her residence, and Cummins was believed to have stolen her black Kia after killing her. The car was later found abandoned after police discovered bodies on Charles Brown Road. Initially, four victims were found, but investigators later discovered two more bodies at the scene.
Police then began a manhunt to locate Cummins as a person of interest in the killing rampage and believed him to be the creek and the wooded area not far from the crime scene. Officers on foot, helicopters, police dogs and TBI's airplane were all used in the search to find Cummins.
"TBI continues to investigate this horrific case and we urge anyone with information that may be of interest to the agents doing this investigation to contact the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND," TBI Director David Rausch said.
In making his statement at a press conference on Monday to release the identities of the victims, Raush described the crime scene as "gruesome, I guess would be the best word to describe it."
There has also been speculation that Cummins could be a suspect in an incident in a rural area of nearby Ransom Mandrell Road on April 17 where a body was found in a residential fire in a remote and wooded area. Weatherford indicated that he had heard such talk on the street, but that police had not yet made a direct connection to Cummins in that incident.
"We have not yet been able to speak with Mr. Cummins yet. He is still in the hospital and is supposed to be getting surgery either today or tomorrow. So we have not been able to speak with him," Weatherford said Monday.