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Murdered ODU student was Md. congressman's nephew

Monday - 6/13/2011, 12:18pm  ET

NORKFOLK, Va. - An Old Dominion University student who grew up in Prince William County was killed Friday morning in what police say was a random attack.

Christopher Cummings, 20, the nephew of Rep. Elijah Cummings of Baltimore, was shot early Friday morning in what the congressman described in a statement as a random shooting at his nephew's off-campus apartment.

Police in Norfolk, Va., said Cummings died shortly after 5 a.m. Friday. The cause of death according to an autopsy report completed Saturday was a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Cummings' roommate, Jake Carey, was critically wounded. Carey also is an Old Dominion student. Hospital officials said Monday they would not be releasing any information on his condition.

Christopher Cummings and Carey shared a house with several other people.

"I am certain that the Norfolk authorities are doing everything within their power to find those responsible for this heinous crime and I urge the local community to cooperate with the police and provide any information that will offer answers to this senseless tragedy," the congressman said.

Christopher Cummings had just finished his junior year at Old Dominion. He grew up in Woodbridge, Va., and was studying criminal science. He was an honors graduate of Forest Park High School in 2009 and a member of the Theta Chi fraternity, which held a candlelight vigil Saturday in his memory.

"Words cannot express our grief at the senseless loss of such a bright, young man," writes University President John R. Broderick in a statement.

"We will also continue to urge city officials and landlords on additional safety measures for the off-campus neighborhood where this and other crimes occurred this semester," Broderick said in the statement posted on Old Dominion University's website.

Recent crimes in the area have included several home-invasion robberies.

Elijah Cummings urged the community to cooperate with police. He says his family remains in shock over the "senseless tragedy."

Elijah Cummings says his nephew was an "amazing young man who was loved and admired by so many people who had the honor of knowing him." He had a 3.5 grade-point average and "ambitious plans for his future."

A spokesman for Elijah Cummings said funeral details were pending.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)