Tony Cushingberry-Mays, 21, has been charged for the murder of United States Postal Service mail carrier Angela Summers. Summers was shot while delivering the mail along her regular route on April 27 in Indianapolis. She later died at the hospital.
Cushingberry-Mays is facing federal charges because Summers was a federal government employee. The charges, filed in the Southern District of Indiana, include:
- Murder in the second degree
- Assaulting, Resisting or Impeding Certain Officers or Employees
- Discharging a Firearm during and in Relation to a Crime of Violence
Cushingberry-Mays was arrested on April 28 and booked into the Marion County Jail in Indianapolis. According to the affidavit, Cushingberry-Mays admitted shooting Summers but told investigators he “did not mean to kill the letter carrier, but wanted to scare her.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cushingberry-Mays Admitted He Shot Summers After She Sprayed Him With Mace
After his arrest, Tony Cushingberry-Mays agreed to provide a statement to investigators while in the presence of his attorney. According to the affidavit, Cushingberry-Mays explained that on April 27, he saw Summers walk past his house at 426 North Denny Street. Mail delivery to the home had been suspended because of an ongoing issue with a dog at the residence.
Cushingberry-Mays said he followed Summers as she continued on to 422 North Denny Street and repeatedly asked her for his home’s mail. He said Summers ignored him. Cushingberry-Mays said he was standing on the porch steps of the residence about six feet away from Summers. She turned and sprayed him with mace.
Cushingberry-Mays told investigators he immediately pulled a handgun from the right side of his waistband and shot Summers once. According to the affidavit, Cushingberry-Mays “acknowledged the mace was not deadly, but led to discomfort from his asthma.”
He explained he then dropped the gun in the garage of his mother’s house (426 N Denny St) before fleeing to his aunt’s house. Cushingberry-Mays also stated that his mother, Acacia Cushingberry, and a cousin both witnessed the shooting.
Cushingberry-Mays added he had never spoken to Summers before April 27. He said that he had intended to scare Summers, but not to kill her.
2. Days Before Her Death, Angela Summers Wrote On Social Media She Felt Unsafe After Receiving Verbal Threats From a Customer On Her Route Over Suspended Mail Service
Summers posted on Facebook about her interactions with the residents at one of the homes on her route. She did not share the address but her description of the problem matches information from the criminal affidavit against Cushingberry-Mays.
Summers explained one of the residences on her route had a chihuahua that routinely came after her and that she had used mace against the dog twice. 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.
Two days before her death, Summers wrote that a woman at the house threatened physical violence against her for using mace against the dog and yelled at Summers to deliver the mail. Summers added that she felt unsafe.
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.)
Summers also explained on social media that the same customers asked about federal stimulus checks:
When I got to the street and saw the check for the current person, I pulled it to go with the rest of the “dog letter” mail (they have to sign a dog letter before they can get their mail or re-establish delivery).
After I pass this street, I get a call asking if this house got a stimulus check today. Well, no, I respond, all of their mail is on hold until they sign a dog letter. There was a check for them but they get nothing until they sign that letter. What about DW, I am asked. Well, he got a check too, but I put it in to be forwarded, I respond.
3. The Shooting May Have Been Over a Missing Federal Stimulus Check, According to the Mail Carriers Union
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police confirmed to Heavy that Summers was shot outside the home located at 422 North Denny Street around 4 p.m. on April 27. A neighbor told WTHR-TV that he saw a man, now identified as Cushingberry-Mays, approach Summers and argue with her about why he had not yet received his federal stimulus check. The affidavit does not mention the stimulus check; Cushingberry-Mays told investigators he was asking Summers to deliver his mail.
According to the witness, Summers told him that the mail service would resume once he agreed to secure his dog. The witness said the argument escalated, leading Summers to use pepper spray against the man. The witness said the man shot Summers before running away. The criminal complaint confirms this account.
The National Association of Letter Carriers has also confirmed that Summers had been having issues with the customers at 426 North Denny Street over their dog. The postal service sent three warning letters to the home, requesting that they secure the dog while Summers delivered the mail.
Mail delivery was suspended on April 12 or 13 after the homeowners did not comply, according to NACL Indianapolis branch president Paul Toms. He said the union believes the shooting was over a federal stimulus check. Management at the USPS Linwood Indianapolis Post Office confirmed to investigators that the residents were told they could pick up their mail directly from the post office.
4. Affidavit: A Witness Said Others at Cushingberry-Mays’ Home Repeatedly Screamed ‘Tony, No’ Moments After the Shooting
Cushingberry-Mays told investigators his mother and cousin saw him approach Summers and witnessed the shooting. That detail lines up with an account from an unnamed neighbor interviewed by detectives.
According to the affidavit, the witness said the “occupants” of 426 North Denny Street were standing on their own front porch when Cushingberry-Mays approached Summers at the home next door. The witness said he heard them repeatedly scream, “Tony, no.” It’s unclear whether this screaming began before or after Summers had been shot.
Cushingberry-Mays ran back toward his own house after the shooting, the criminal complaint explains. He told investigators that after placing the handgun in the garage, he fled to his aunt’s house.
Officers with the Indianapolis Metro Police Department quickly obtained a search warrant for 422 North Denny Street. Inside an upstairs bedroom, they found a safe that contained boxes of ammunition that was the “same caliber and brand of fired cartridge casing” found near where Summers was shot. The safe also contained Cushingberry-Mays’ social security card and the title to his vehicle that was parked outside the house.
5. A Teenager At the Home On Denny Street Said She Heard a Loud Bang & Called 911 After Finding Angela Summers On the Front Porch
A teenage girl who lived at the home at 422 Denny Street called 911 after Summers was shot. Alondra Salazar told the Indy Star she had been napping on the couch when she heard a loud bang.
Salazar said she first looked through the peephole before opening the front door. She found Summers bleeding on the front porch from a gunshot wound to the chest. Pepper spray, a bottle of hand sanitizer and mail items were lying beside her. Salazar said she called 911 and held Summers’ hand as they waited for the ambulance to arrive. She said Summers talked about her daughter but was struggling to breathe.
According to the criminal complaint, Summers was transported to Eskenazi Hospital in critical condition. She was pronounced dead at 5:31 p.m., about 90 minutes after she was shot. The coroner classified the death as a homicide.