DA: Suspect in clerk’s death was released early for 2015 fatal shooting

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TROY, Ala. (WDHN) — A Troy man has been charged in the death of Neil Purush Kumar, the store clerk and graduate student killed in an early morning shooting last Wednesday.

Kumar was killed shortly after opening the J&S Buy Rite convenience store on 120 East Troy Street at 6:00 a.m.

Multiple agencies were involved in this investigation, with Troy police arresting a suspect Saturday without incident.

Currently, law enforcement maintains that robbery was the motive for Kumar’s death.

The suspect — Leon Terrell Flowers, 23, of Troy — was said to be on parole at the time for a previous manslaughter conviction for the shooting of Mantrell Tyrrek Jordan. Originally, he was charged with murder in that case but pleaded down to manslaughter.

According to District Attorney Tom Anderson, the previous victim’s father asked for leniency so he was given a three-year jail credit for time served in jail and placed on probation.

“In my opinion, he shouldn’t have been out to begin with, and he was only out before a matter of months before this happened,” said, striking the podium with his documents.

Sheriff Russell Thomas said jail records show he was released April 20, 2019.

Anderson said that the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles will now be making changes to their release policies to help reduce crimes being committed by those on early release, after getting pressured by a coalition of victim’s rights advocates with help from Attorney General Steve Marshall and a task force put together by Gov. Kay Ivey.

Brundidge Mayor Isabell Boyd said that now is the time for prayer and unity during this time of difficulty.

“There’s two families out there that’s heartbroken,” Boyd said.

She also encouraged citizens to keep some sort of surveillance around their homes to keep themselves safe.

Brundidge Police Chief Moses Davenport said that he expects Brundidge to be okay after having such a violent crime happen.

“I think the citizens of Brundidge will rest a little more at ease than they would have (the) day before yesterday after hearing about this crime,” Davenport said.

Thomas said that more action is needed to stop the rampant gun crime that is happening “night after night after night.”

“I think we need to seriously look at adding an enhancement of five years to anything involving a gun crime, whether it’s breaking into a vehicle and stealing a gun; whether it’s breaking into a house and stealing a gun; whether it’s assault first-degree, somebody being shot; whether it’s attempted murder,” he said.

Thomas said a similar enhancement should be in place for repeat felons — suggesting that if such enhancements were in place, this crime would not have happened.

“I assure you our office and law enforcement here, we’re going to fight tooth and nail to try to keep justice on your end,” Anderson said.

Flowers is now in the Pike County Jail on the charges of capital murder, probation violation and failing to register. Judge Shannon Clark filed an order Monday for a hearing to be held for Flowers’ defense to justify why his probation should not be revoked.

Corrections: Two typos were inadvertently published. First was a mistake in the headline that marked the previous shooting as happening in 2016 when it happened in 2015. This was fixed before publishing but was exported incorrectly for some reason. Another was the suspect’s age. He is 23, not 25.

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