Johnny Cunningham, a long-time Rocky Mount community activist and proponent of fair housing, job training and education, was killed Thursday in a fatal shooting at a residence in the 3000 block of Old Battleboro Road.

Cunningham was found dead after Edgecombe County deputies responded to a call for a welfare check at the address.

According to published reports, Cunningham died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Detective Lt. Wilson Muse of the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office said authorities have a person of interest in the case.

Cunningham has been a regular speaker at Rocky Mount City Council meetings for several years, often talking about housing issues and job opportunities.

In October 2014, he founded The ReGroup 1, a nonprofit organization established to provide jobs and education for felons to help turn their lives around.

“Johnny was either giving the council grief or praising them. You either liked him or you didn’t, but no one deserves to be gunned down,” former city council candidate Gwen Wilkins said.

Anyone with information about the case can call the sheriff's office at 252-641-7911 and ask for a detective or email tips to