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NFLer Turned Assistant Principal Killed in School Lot

TJ Cunningham's neighbor is charged with murder after alleged parking dispute
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2019 9:46 AM CST
Marcus Johnson.   (Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office)

(Newser) – A former NFL player was fatally shot over the weekend in what authorities say was a dispute over a parking space. Anthony "TJ" Cunningham, who played part of the 1996 season with the Seattle Seahawks, was allegedly shot three times by a man who lived across the street from him in Aurora, Colo., on Sunday, reports the Denver Post. He died a day later at a hospital. The neighbors had been fighting over a parking space and agreed over text to meet at the parking lot of a high school a mile from their homes to "box it out," an affidavit reads, per ABC News and CNN. The document states 31-year-old Marcus Johnson, charged with first-degree murder, shot 46-year-old Cunningham in the head and chest as they walked toward each other, shouting obscenities.

Johnson, who called 911, claimed Cunningham was armed with a bottle, according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office. But Cunningham's brother, who was present for the shooting, said the assistant principal at another Aurora high school carried no weapon at all. "He was a good family man and had a strong passion for working with young people," University of Colorado athletic director Rick George says via tweet. Cunningham played wide receiver and defensive back for the school from 1992 to 1995 before he was selected by the Seahawks in the sixth round of the 1996 NFL draft. He played nine games as defensive back in his only season before career-ending injuries, per KDVR. Johnson is to appear in court for the filing of charges on Friday. (Read more shooting stories.)

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