Teen charged in death of Clinton man killed on way to church

Scileek Phugwan Washington (left) and Benjamin Cunningham. Photo of Washington from Clinton Police. Cunningham's photo from family members.

CLINTON, NC (WNCN) — A teen has been arrested in the shooting death of a Clinton man who was on his way to church when he was gunned down in his own yard, officials say.

Scileek Phugwan Washington, age 19, of Cranberry Lane was arrested on Tuesday  for the homicide death of Benjamin Cunningham.

Cunningham, age 56, was very active at his church.

Cunningham was known for his cooking as he frequently prepared meals for the church and for a local homeless shelter, according to family members.

Cunningham was found dead in his yard around 7:15 p.m. Sept. 16 on West Morrissey Boulevard.

Investigators from the Clinton Police Neighborhood Improvement Team and the State Bureau of Investigation took Washington into custody at the Sampson County Courthouse and charged him with murder and possession of firearm by a convicted felon.

The Sampson County Medical Examiners ruled that Cunningham died as a result of single gunshot wound.

Investigators met with the District Attorney and warrants were then obtained.  Washington is being held at the Sampson County Detention Center  under no bond.

This investigation is still ongoing.

Any citizen with information about this crime should call investigators at the Clinton Police Department at 910-592-3105.  Information can be reported anonymously by calling 910-590-3009 or texting keyword tipcpd and the information to TIP411 (847411).

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