Angela Summers was the postal service mail carrier who was shot and killed while delivering mail along her regular route in Indianapolis on April 27. She was 45 years old and leaves behind a teenage daughter. A suspect, Tony Cushingberry-Mays, has been arrested in the case and has admitted to shooting Summers, according to a federal affidavit.
According to the National Association of Letter Carriers, Summers had been having issues with a customer who refused to secure his dog. Cushingberry-Mays lived at the home in question. The organization shared on social media that the customer was “upset over his mail being held at the post office for a dog issue.”
The United States Postal Service offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Summers’ killer. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is leading the investigation and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is assisting, along with the FBI. The murder of a federal employee carries a possible punishment of life in prison or even the death penalty.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Angela Summers Was Alert After She Was Shot But Later Died at the Hospital
Summers was shot outside of the home located at 422 North Denny Street in Indianapolis around 4 p.m. on April 27, the IMPD confirmed to Heavy. Cushingberry-Mays, who admitted to shooting Summers according to a federal affidavit, lived at the house next door.
Summers was alert as emergency responders loaded her into the ambulance. WXIN-TV reported Summers was “awake and talking.” A witness told WTHR that Summers even flashed a thumbs up after hearing someone call out her name.
But Summers succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead at the hospital. The Marion County Coroner’s Office confirmed Summers had been shot in the chest.
2. Summers Posted On Facebook About Receiving Verbal Threats Due to a Customer’s Mail Being Held
Two days before her death, Summers wrote about the trouble she was having with a customer along her mail route. Most of Summers’ Facebook posts appear to be set to private, but screengrabs of her posts in an album called “Tales from the Route” have been shared on social media.
On April 25, Summers explained she had twice used pepper spray against a chihuahua that continued to come after her when she delivered to the house. She described the dog as a “nasty devil” and said she had asked the residents to take the dog inside multiple times. Summers said the homeowner received three warnings about the animal before the post office decided to hold the mail. The homeowner was told to pick up mail directly at the post office.
Summers wrote that a woman at the house verbally threatened her over the issue:
A woman stands up and hollers for my attention. She tells me that she’s the ‘lady of this house’ and that if I EVER mace her dog again personally mace me. (Yup, that was definitely a threat to a federal employee *note*) Then she proceeds to yell “b*tch this and kick your ass b*tch that” at me. I keep walking. I get to the other side of this house’s yard and am putting mail in bos at the next house and she’s yelling that if I talk to these kids again she’s going to set a pit bull loose on my white b*tch ass (two clear threats now, I’m beginning to feel seriously unsafe, how exactly does race factor in this, is she threatening to commit a hate crime against a federal employee?) I turn to go to the next house (yup, quite literally turning my back on that sh*tshow) and she finished up with ‘And you BETTER deliver my mail, b*tch!’ (Is she really serious? Like I’m gonna set one single foot on that porch between now and when hell freezes over after being verbally assaulted and threatened with physical harm and a hate crime.)
3. The National Association of Letters Carriers Union Says the Tension With the Customer Had Been Ongoing For Weeks
Investigators have not publicly discussed a motive in Summers’ murder. But the National Association of Letter Carriers was quick to shed light on the tension that had been ongoing between the postal service and the residents of the home on Denny Street.
The president of the union’s Local Branch 39, Paul Toms, has said the issues concerning the dog had been going on for several weeks. He told CW affiliate WISH-TV that the homeowner had received three letters requesting that the dog be secured to ensure it did not attack Summers. When the homeowner failed to comply, the mail was held. Toms said the union stopped delivering mail to that residence beginning on either April 12 or 13.
A neighbor told NBC affiliate WTHR-TV that Summers was approached by a man outside the house on Denny Street on the day she was killed. The witness said the man was upset that he had not received his federal stimulus check, and Summers explained that she would resume delivering his mail once he agreed to secure the dog. The neighbor said the argument escalated to the point where Summers used pepper spray against the man and that the man shot her in response. Police have not yet released the names of any suspects in the case.
4. Summers Is Remembered Fondly By Colleagues & Customers
Summers joined the United States Postal Service during the summer of 2018. The leader of the NACL Indianapolis branch, Toms, told the Indy Star Summers became a steward for the union shortly after becoming a government employee. Toms described Summers as a well-liked and respected colleague who always had a smile for everyone she encountered.
Her customers have shared similar sentiments. Neighbor Melissa Hardy told FOX59, “She loved people. She loved the people on her route. She worried about the older people on her route during this time. She always carried treats and she would give the dogs treats on her route.”
Another friend who goes by the name “Gary X Indiana” on Facebook wrote that Summers was one of the “most beautiful, coolest” people he had ever met. He wrote, “I’d see her on her route, and she would stop and chat and laugh with me until I started feeling guilty about taking so much time from her busy day, and I’d reluctantly bid her adieu. If I was talking to someone on the street, and she happened to pass by, I’d loudly announce ‘Indianapolis’ best mail carrier!’ Angela would laugh, of course. She was full of laughter and love. She wasn’t just Indy’s greatest mail carrier, she was the best in the whole darn USPS.”
Summers’ customers hung black ribbons on their mailboxes in her memory.
5. Violence Against Postal Workers Is Rare
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s rare for United States Postal Service workers to face violence on the job, although dogs are a common issue. Four mail carriers were murdered between 2013 and 2018, according to government statistics cited by WDRB-TV.
The president of the National Association of Letters Carriers, Fredric Rolando, issued this statement about Summers death:
On behalf of the NALC, we mourn the loss of Sister Summers. Angela began her career with the Postal Service less than two years ago. She had her whole life ahead of her. She was dedicated to her customers as a letter carrier, and to her co-workers as a union representative. She served them both well. The senseless nature of her death breaks our hearts. We send our thoughts and prayers to Angela’s daughter, the rest of her family, friends, coworkers, and loved ones.
Summers was the mother of a 14-year-old daughter. NALC Indianapolis branch leader Toms told WISH-TV a trust would be put together to benefit Summers’ daughter. A GoFundMe campaign has also been launched to help cover funeral costs.