GUILTY PLEA IN FATAL SHOOTING OF THREE-YEAR OLD KILLED BY STRAY BULLET
Defendant was Retaliating Against ‘Paintball Shooters’ When He Struck and Killed the Child
Decatur, Ga.- DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston announces a conviction by guilty plea in the case against a Decatur teen charged in the fatal 2018 Easter Sunday shooting of a three-year-old boy. During court proceedings on Friday, Christopher Cullins, now 19, pleaded guilty to charges of Voluntary Manslaughter and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony in connection with the shooting death of three-year-old T’rhigi Craig Diggs.
The young child was shot and killed on April 1, 2018 at the intersection of Eastland and Bouldercrest Roads in DeKalb County. His mother, Roshanda Craig, was driving through the intersection when a bullet pierced the rear door, striking her child who was asleep in the back seat of the car. The investigation revealed that Defendant Cullins, then 15 years old, was at the nearby Texaco gas station with members of his family, to include his mother, sister, and cousin. Just prior to the shooting, occupants inside a trio of cars driving by the gas station began firing paintballs from the vehicles- striking gas pumps, the convenience store windows, and several people, including Defendant Cullins.
In 2018, local hip-hop artists were encouraging people via social media to put down their guns and shoot paintball guns instead. After being struck during the “paintball drive-by,” Cullins ran to his cousin’s car located at a pump, grabbed a real gun from the floorboard and fired it one time in the direction of the cars shooting paintballs as they drove away. Ms. Craig and her son were at a nearby intersection, waiting to turn. Instead of striking the men firing paintballs, the bullet struck the sleeping child in the back seat of his mother’s car. Young T’rhigi Diggs suffered one gunshot wound to the chest and died as a result of his injuries. Defendant Cullins fled from the scene.
Detective C. Tappan of the DeKalb County Police Department led the investigation and tracked the shooting back to the gas station. He obtained surveillance video from the gas station which helped in identifying Cullins as the shooter. Cullins was later arrested with a bag on his person which contained, among other things, one live .40 caliber round similar in nature to the one fired from the Glock that killed T’Rhigi. Cullins later confessed to the shooting claiming he shot to defend himself from the paintball shooters.
Following his plea, Defendant Cullins was sentenced by DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Stacey Hydrick to 20 years to serve 13 in custody with the balance on probation.
According to the terms of the negotiated plea agreement, Cullins is prohibited from having contact with the victim’s mother or grandmother in person, or electronically- including via phone, text, or social media.
The case was prosecuted by Chief Assistant District Attorney Pete Johnson, Deputy Chief Investigators Tracey Enderson and Lynell Freligh and Victim Advocate Sarah Strzemienksi.