Suspect in seven Sumner County killings had criminal past

Posted at 7:51 AM, Apr 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-29 12:31:01-04

SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — The suspect in a string of seven homicides in rural Sumner County had a criminal history and was sentenced to be on probation, according to state records.

Michael Cummins, 25, was named the suspect in seven homicides in Sumner County near Westmoreland. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations said the first 911 call came Saturday evening. Saturday night, TBI officials said they had discovered four bodies in one home and another body at a separate scene. On Sunday, a TBI spokesperson announced two more bodies had been identified at the first scene. Another victim was sent to the hospital. A family friend identified 3 of the deceased victims as relatives of Cummins: David and Clara Cummins, the mother and father of the suspect, as well as Charlie Hosale, Cummins' uncle.

Cummins was initially identified as a "person of interest" as he led police on an hours-long manhunt. Cummins was taken into custody late Saturday night after officials say he was spotted by a TBI plane. An unnamed law enforcement officer shot Cummins while taking him into custody, but Cummins is expected to survive.

Neighbors said the gruesome crimes are surprising, but they weren't as shocked as they should have been when they learned Cummins was named a suspect.

"You're kind of in shock, but I'm not as shocked as I should be, if you can relate to that," Bill Hayes said. Hayes lives down the road from the home where investigators found six bodies. "[Cummins has] terrorized our neighborhood for forever. Break-ins, they've stole four-wheelers, lawnmowers, they stole anything they could get their hands on."

But it wasn't just thefts; according to court records, Cummins pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and attempted arson in 2018. The pleas stemmed from an incident in 2017 that neighbors remember well.

"He tried burning his next door neighbor's house down and said he was going to kill her," one neighbor, who did not want to be named, said.

People who knew the family said Cummins was released, and state records show the 25-year-old was sentenced to be on probation until 2027.

"I don't know why they would let him our after all the trouble he been in in the past," the neighbor said. "If he was still in jail, his family would still be living, the lady down the road would still be living."