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Ex-Seattle Seahawks player shot dead in parking dispute, officials said

Anthony "T.J." Cunningham and his alleged killer argued over text before fatal confrontation.

A former Seattle Seahawks player was fatally shot by his neighbor after a text-fueled parking dispute, authorities in suburban Denver said Tuesday.

Anthony "T.J." Cunningham, 46, died from his wounds Monday and neighbor Marcus Johnson was booked on suspicion of murder, following from the deadly conflict Sunday in Aurora, Colorado, about 20 miles outside Denver, officials said,

“It was ongoing dispute and early in the morning they had a physical altercation, parking related," Arapahoe County Sheriff's spokeswoman Deborah Sherman told NBC News on Tuesday

The men lived a short walk away from Eaglecrest High School where the men met again, in the campus driveway, on Sunday morning.

"So the argument continued over text and it was said, 'Let's just settle this at the school,' and one of them brought a gun," Sherman said.

Image: Marcus Johnson was arrested in connection with the shooting death of Anthony "T.J." Cunningham in Aurora, Colorado.
Marcus Johnson was arrested in connection with the shooting death of Anthony "T.J." Cunningham in Aurora, Colorado.Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office

Cunningham and Johnson, 31, lived across the street from each other, and the exact details of their parking feud were not immediately clear.

"It was crazy: They were texting each other, so they know each other," Sherman observed.

A passerby called 911 at about 9:20 a.m. MT after seeing the mortally wounded Cunningham in the street, and Johnson even phoned in a short time later, officials said.

"Minutes after the first call, we received a second call — from the suspect, 'I just shot my neighbor. He assaulted me earlier in the day' and then he indicated he was going home," Sherman said. "So we responded to the scene and to his [Johnson's] home and he gave himself up."

Johnson was originally booked for attempted murder but that charge was upgraded after Cunningham died on Monday, jail records showed.

Cunningham played college football at the nearby University of Colorado. He was a safety and played one season, in 1996, for the Seahawks.

“We were deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the death of T.J. Cunningham," CU Athletics Director Rick George said. "He was a good family man and had a strong passion for working with young people."

Cunningham was an assistant principal at Hinkley High School, about 12 miles from where he died.

Johnson made a brief appearance in court on Tuesday when he was formally advised of the murder charge against him, officials said. A judge ordered him held without bail, until at least his next hearing, scheduled for Friday.

It was not known if he hired a lawyer yet on Tuesday.