Centennial, Co – A former National Football League (NFL) player was fatally shot by a neighbor in a dispute over a parking space.
Anthony “T.J.” Cunningham, 46, had been in a long-running argument with his across-the-street neighbor, 31-year-old Marcus Johnson, over a parking space in front of their houses, KGUN reported.
Cunningham’s brother told police that he and his brother had agreed to meet Johnson in the parking lot of Eaglecrest High School in Centennial at 9 a.m. on Feb. 17 to “box it out,” meaning they would fight.
But once they arrived at the high school parking lot, Johnson and Cunningham began yelling and cursing at each other.
They were walking towards each other across the pavement when Johnson pulled out a handgun and opened fire on the former Seattle Seahawks football player, KGUN reported.
Johnson fired three shots and struck Cunningham in his head and chest.
Arapahoe County sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call they received at 9:20 a.m. from the Eaglecrest parking lot for a report of a man shot and covered in blood, according to KGUN.
When deputies were en route to the high school, Johnson called 911 and informed the dispatcher that he had shot his neighbor, was inside his home, and that he had left his weapon locked in his vehicle parked out front.
Cunningham, the father of five children, was transported by ambulance to Parker Adventist Hospital where he died on Feb. 18, KGUN reported.
Johnson was arrested and ordered held without bond on a charge of first degree murder.
“I expect him to remain in place,” 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler told KCNC. “There isn’t any amount of money on the planet Earth at this moment that could get him out of custody.”
Johnson has a history of criminal charges that includes assault and weapons possession.
Cunningham was a cornerback and wide receiver who played college football at University of Colorado – Boulder in the 1990s when the team was ranked in the Top 25 in the nation, according to the Longmont Daily Times-Call.
He was drafted in the sixth round of the 1996 NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks.
Cunningham played in nine games for the Seahawks before he injured his knee and was released by the team.
He went on to become the assistant principal and a coach at Hinkley High School, where he was considered a positive and influential role model for the students, KCNC reported.