DECATUR – A team of detectives continued their hunt Sunday for the killers who shot a husband and his wife to death in the 1200 block of North Clinton Street late Saturday night.
Freedom Cunningham, 34, suffered a bullet wound to the back of his head and his 26-year-old wife, Central Cunningham, suffered several bullet wounds to her body when the couple was attacked about 10:47 p.m. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
Police say they were gunned down by two men described as black and both wearing dark pants and dark hooded sweat shirts. They were seen driving a white car with tinted windows.
Extra detectives were called in to work the double murder case and their investigation stretched through the night Saturday. No arrests had been made by late Sunday although police had executed several search warrants.
“Decatur Police need the assistance of the public in solving this crime,” said Deputy Police Chief David Dickerson, who is in charge of criminal investigations. “Anyone with information can contact the police at 424-2711, 424-2734 or call Crime Stoppers at 423-TIPS.”
Dickerson said Crime Stoppers will pay $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of suspects in a murder inquiry.
Police did not release details of how the shootings happened, although witnesses on the scene in the aftermath described Central Cunningham as being slumped over in a van near the sidewalk. The body of her husband was left sprawled on the porch of a house where he had fallen; one of the panes of glass in a front room window appeared shattered by a bullet.
Blood spatters where still visible Sunday on the porch roof and fragments of broken glass from a vehicle could be seen glinting in the spring sunshine in the roadway. A small pile of cuddly toys, an impromptu memorial, lay in a heap at the base of one of the poles supporting the porch roof.
“I just know them, I know both of them real well,” Juan Weekly, who lives in the area and saw the scene after the shooting. “I was just sitting at home and was told they got shot.”
Weekly, 25, said this area of North Clinton Street was no stranger to crimes and a check of Herald & Review archives found a steady stream of reports detailing multiple shootings and robberies. One unresolved murder lingers from 17 years ago: 22-year-old Ronald Gause was found shot to death in the front yard of his home in the 1300 block of North Clinton in December 1995.
Weekly said levels of violence appear to be rising quickly this year and he was concerned what the coming summer would be like.
“I worry it’s going to be crazy, man,” he said. “It’s going to be real crazy.”
Macon County Coroner, Michael Day, said autopsies on the Cunninghams are scheduled for today at the McLean County morgue. The coroner said this was Decatur’s second and third homicides of 2012, following on from the death of Tobias D. Jarrett, 31, who was shot to death Feb. 6 outside the Night Owls Motorcycle Club on Marion Street.