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Crime

Jurors shown footage of accused shooter’s arrest in trial for Naval Academy mom’s death

Calling police witnesses and presenting body-worn camera footage of Angelo Harrod’s arrest, prosecutors concluded the first week of a murder trial in the 2021 shooting death of Michelle Cummings, the mother of a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman.

Harrod, 31, was arrested on an open warrant nearly a day after the shooting June 29. Detectives wrote in charging papers that they identified him from surveillance footage, where he is seen with an accomplice shooting at a car on Pleasant Street shortly after midnight. Investigators say one bullet traveled to the patio of the Graduate Annapolis hotel, where Cummings was spending time with family friends. Cummings, 57, was struck in the upper chest by the shot and pronounced dead at the scene.

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Earlier in the Anne Arundel Circuit Court trial, Breonna Barnes testified that her vehicle was struck by gunfire when she had parked at the end of Pleasant Street following a night out on a date with R.J. Atwell. She said she heard someone call her name and then count down from five before multiple shots were fired at her vehicle, shattering the rear window and puncturing the tire. The couple were not injured.

Police arrested Harrod later that evening, as he had an open warrant for escaping house arrest in May. Harrod had been serving a three-year sentence for a prior handgun charge. He was charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Cummings weeks later.

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During testimony Thursday, Assistant State’s Attorneys Carolynn Grammas and Jason Steinhardt called back Annapolis Police Officer Edward Cooper, who detained Harrod that evening. Cooper also testified Wednesday about his response to the Pleasant Street shooting.

Cooper told the court he was dispatched on the evening of June 29 to the 24/7 Fuel Mart, located on Forest Drive near the Robinwood community, to arrest Harrod on the open warrant. He said undercover officers near the gas station had identified him.

“They were watching the whole time, and they spotted the subject going in,” Cooper said.

Body-worn camera footage from the arrest showed Cooper approaching Harrod in the gas station and telling him he had an open warrant. Harrod asked to go outside and became irate when Cooper declined, yelling and then running out of the gas station.

Officers chased Harrod and took him down in a patch of bushes outside. Harrod repeatedly exclaimed that his leg was injured.

Cooper testified that more than 20 people started gathering outside the store at that point, and units from outside police agencies responded to the scene.

In the video, Harrod began to yell toward the growing crowd of people outside the gas station, telling them to “get my peoples” and “get my phone.”

During cross-examination from defense attorney Howard Cardin, Cooper said he was not sure at the time what he was arresting Harrod for, beyond that it was an open warrant. He said he later learned of the misdemeanor warrants for escaping house arrest.

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Harrod was being held at the Jennifer Road Detention Center when charged in the killing of Cummings. Before the trials, he was being held at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown.

Prosecutors also called Edward Gesser, an Anne Arundel County Police firearm examiner, who testified that several bullets and shell casings at the Pleasant Street scene came from two separate guns.

He was unable to confirm which gun was responsible for three bullet pieces, including the remains of the bullet that struck Cummings.

Also testifying at the trial Thursday was Dr. Russell Alexander, a forensic pathologist for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, who performed Cummings’ autopsy. He said Cummings was struck in the front, on her upper chest, and that the bullet exited through her back. As the bullet traveled through her body, it damaged her heart, lungs and a large blood vessel, he testified.

Three other Annapolis Police investigators also testified Thursday. Prosecutors showed the jury a pair of sweatpants and a hoodie that investigators found while searching a Tyler Avenue residence, where they believe Harrod was living at the time. The distinct design on the sweatshirt matched the description of the shooter’s sweatshirt described by Michael McDonald, an Annapolis officer who testified Wednesday that he reviewed footage of the shooting.

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The trial before Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Pamela K. Alban will resume at 9 a.m. Monday.


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