19-year-old questioned in Royal Street slaying Man, 38, was killed on neighbor's steps after card game

February 21, 1997|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

Annapolis police were questioning a 19-year-old Annapolis man yesterday in the death of Thomas E. Cully Sr., who was shot in the chest late Wednesday on the steps of a neighbor's home in the 900 block of Royal St.

Ricardo J. Fox of the 1900 block of Copeland St. was being held at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center without bond on assault charges in an attack on a 16-year-old Bywater youth early Wednesday evening and as a suspect in the death of Cully.

Fox is charged with first-degree assault, reckless endangerment and carrying a handgun in a car.

Police began connecting the shootings when a youth in the crowd at the Cully crime scene said Fox had assaulted him a few hours earlier.

The three knew each other and lived in the same community, said Police Lt. Zora Lykken.

"We have made an arrest of a suspect involved in another shooting who we consider to be a suspect in the homicide," Lykken said.

Cully, 38, of the 900 block of Royal St. was shot at least once in the chest around 11: 30 p.m. Wednesday as he was leaving the house of friends, Curtis and Sharon Neal, after a game of cards. He was pronounced dead at Anne Arundel Medical Center just before midnight. It was the first homicide of the year in Annapolis, police said.

Earlier that evening, a man driving a dark-colored car pulled up at Green Briar Lane and Belle Drive, a few blocks from Royal Street, and fired six shots at a 17-year-old neighbor of Fox. The youth fled and the man drove away.

Cully, an auto mechanic at Jack the Greek's in the 1900 block of West St., was shot 3 1/2 hours later.

Fox turned himself in for the assault on the 17-year-old about 11: 30 a.m. yesterday. Police said he and the youth had been feuding for a couple months.

Curtis Neal, 43, said he did not realize his friend had been shot until his wife heard noise and looked outside.

"I said, 'Oh, not Thomas,' " said Neal, who called Cully his "adopted son."

Court records show that Cully, the father of three teen-age boys, had two minor run-ins with the law. He was charged in 1991 and 1992 with petty theft; both cases ended in probation before judgment.

Neall remembered him as "a good person, full of smiles."

Cully's father, James, 77, said he accepted his son's death as an accident.

He said the family has lived in the Bywater community for 27 years and that he can't think of anyone who would intentionally have shot his son.

"He would go out of his way to do something for anyone," the elder Cully said. "He wouldn't do anyone any harm."

The younger Cully had worked part time at the West Street garage for about a year, said the owner, Jack Kleanhtous.

"He was a hard worker," Kleanhtous said. "He didn't bother nobody. I'm very upset because nobody's got to fight with him. He was real cool."

"He was a wonderful child," said Louise Hill, a longtime family friend. "I haven't gotten over it."

Pub Date: 2/21/97

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