Joshua Cummings was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday for the murder of a Denver Transit Security Guard (RTD, Regional Transportation District) in 2017. He is a self-proclaimed ISIS sympathizer.
— CBSDenver (@CBSDenver) January 25, 2018
RTD Security Guard Scott Von Lanken was talking to two women late at night on January 31, 2017, giving them information on light rail routes. Cummings brazenly walked up behind him, put a gun to his neck and pulled the trigger. As he did so, he said something to the effect of “Do as you’re told.”
Mr. Von Lanken was a former police officer, pastor, and was working for RTD Security at the time of his death, according to the Denver Post. He was just working to make ends meet at the transit security company. Though he was armed at the time, he never got the chance to return fire, and died at the hospital.
Cummings reportedly joined the Army in 1996, but never saw combat. He told authorities right after his arrest that he supported ISIS, but they never found any information to actually tie him to the terror group, so didn’t charge him with a terrorist act. Fox reported that while incarcerated, he reportedly “fasted for 3 days to purge himself of the oath to the Constitution.”
“On the night in question, what I did do, I didn’t do that for the Islamic State. I did that purely and solely for the pleasure of allah.” Joshua Cummings
After the execution style murder, Cummings fled the scene and was found 20 minutes later, hiding at a nearby residence. Police used a video from a local business to find the direction he fled.
The trial lasted just 3 days. His mandatory sentence was read Thursday: life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Though he attempted to claim it wasn’t premeditated, the fact that Mr. Von Lanken was a Christian Pastor that was well known in the community, and Cummings was an Islamic convert may have worked against that narrative.
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