Former NFL Player TJ Cunningham Fatally Shot in Parking Spot Dispute

Former NFL player Anthony “T.J.” Cunningham has died at the age of 46 after being fatally shot during a parking dispute.

According to an announcement from the Arapaho County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado, Cunningham, who played at the University of Colorado and later for the Seattle Seahawks, died on Monday following the Sunday shooting.

Authorities had responded to calls of a possible shooting near Eaglecrest High School and Thunder Ridge Middle School in Aurora, Colorado at around 9 a.m. Sunday morning, according to Deborah Sherman, Public Affairs Manager for the sheriff’s office, who spoke to PEOPLE. Upon arriving at the scene, they discovered Cunningham suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

The Denver Post reports that Cunningham was transported to Parker Adventist Hospital, where he later died as a result of his injuries.

Following the shooting, Marcus Johnson, 31, contacted authorities and confessed to the crime, alleging that he and Cunningham, his neighbor, had gotten into a dispute over a parking space. Following a physical altercation, the two continued arguing through text messages, before deciding to “settle it” at the school, where Johnson shot Cunningham multiple times.

Cunningham, a wide receiver and defensive back, played at Colorado from 1992-1995 recording 239 yards on 21 receptions as a wide receiver, according to Yahoo Sports. In the sixth round of the 1996 NFL draft, he was selected by the Seattle Seahawks, though he only played a total of nine games before injuries forced him to end his career.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the death of T.J. Cunningham,” Colorado athletic director Rick George said in a statement. “He was a good family man and had a strong passion for working with young people as evidenced by serving as an assistant high school principal. He was a good alum, an active alum, and took great pride in being a Colorado Buffalo.

“Our hearts go out to T.J.’s family on their tragic loss. We will miss him," the statement concluded.


Following his football career, Cunningham went on to work as an assistant principal at Hinkley High School in Aurora. After hearing news of his death, the school district released a statement saying that they “are deeply saddened to learn that one of our assistant principals, Anthony (TJ) Cunningham, passed away yesterday. Our thought and prayers are with them during this tragic time.”

Johnson is being held at the Arapaho County Jail on a first-degree murder charge. His arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday morning.