Police: Wife shot husband in Belfast

Posted Dec. 10, 2008, at 10:39 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — State police continued their investigation Wednesday into the shooting death of James G. Cummings by his wife in their High Street home.

Amber B. Cummings, 31, shot her 29-year-old husband Tuesday morning in what authorities are investigating as a domestic violence homicide, according to Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland. The couple’s 9-year-old daughter was in the home at the time of the shooting.

No arrests have been made. Amber Cummings and her daughter were released Tuesday night after having been questioned by detectives. Cummings and her daughter are staying elsewhere in the area as police continue to investigate the crime scene, McCausland said.

A number of detectives and a mobile crime lab remained at the family’s home at 346 High St. Wednesday. The home had been kept under police guard overnight.

Cummings’ body was removed from the residence and taken to Augusta where an autopsy was performed by Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Marguerite DeWitt on Wednesday. An office spokesman said the results of the autopsy were being withheld pending further investigation.

“We are investigating this death as a domestic violence homicide,” McCausland said Wednesday. “Our detectives continue to work with the Belfast police to gather evidence inside the home and conduct interviews. That evidence and the gun used in the shooting will be analyzed at the State Police Crime Lab.”

State Police Lt. Gary Wright said Belfast police rushed to 346 High St. after the Waldo County Communications center received a 911 call at 11:21 a.m. Tuesday reporting a shooting. Officers at the scene confirmed that a man had been shot to death and that a woman was being questioned. A weapon was recovered.

The call reporting the incident was made from the home of a neighbor where Cummings and her daughter had gone after the shooting. Detectives could be seen entering and leaving that residence throughout the afternoon Tuesday. At approximately 4:30 p.m., two detectives were observed escorting Cummings and her daughter from the house. They were placed in an unmarked cruiser and driven off.

According to records at Belfast City Hall, the Cummings purchased the home and 2-plus acres at 346 High St. in August of last year. The documents indicated that the home, which was in a “trashed” condition, was bought in a foreclosure sale through a Florida mortgage company. The couple paid $153,900 for the property, which the city has assessed at $164,100.

The crime scene is a short walk from Belfast Variety and store employees described Amber Cummings as a pleasant woman who was always very polite. She home-schooled her daughter, one said.

“She’s so quiet and nice and she’s very polite,” Leslie Holland said.

John DeGraff, who works in the store’s hardware section, said the family had done extensive renovations on the house after moving there about a year ago. He said Amber Cummings made frequent purchases during that period.

“She is the nicest lady I ever met,” DeGraff said. “They bought a lot of supplies and they put a lot of work into that house.”

McCausland said the crime scene investigators and detectives worked through the night and most of Wednesday gathering information and evidence.

“We want to gather as much information as we can,” he said. “Our goal is to determine the circumstances under which this shooting occurred and what went on inside that house Tuesday morning.”

This is the 18th domestic violence homicide to have taken place in Maine this year.

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