Manhunt continues for gunman in Auburn shootings

5:35 PM, Jun 11, 2012   |    comments
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AUBURN, Ala. -- Authorities searched Monday for a gunman suspected of killing three people and wounding three others in a weekend shooting at a pool party near Auburn University that a witness said began with a fight over a woman.

RELATED | Second man arrested in Auburn shooting 

The triple homicide has rattled Auburn, Ala. Among the dead are two members of the university's 2010 national championship football team.

Police were searching for Desmonte Leonard, 22, of Montgomery. Police Chief Tommy Dawson said Leonard shot six people, three fatally, during a fight at a pool party Saturday. He faces three counts of capital murder.

Dawson said Leonard fled the scene in a white Chevrolet that he abandoned on the way back to Montgomery, about 55 miles away. They believed he was in the Montgomery area.

Killed were former Auburn football players Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips, and Auburn resident Demario Pitts.

Current player Eric Mack was hospitalized, Dawson said. Head coach Gene Chizik said Mack was expected to make a full recovery.

Also wounded: John Robertson and Xavier Moss. Robertson was in critical condition with a head wound, police said. Moss was released from the hospital.

"This is a sad, sad day for everyone associated with the entire Auburn family," Chizik said. "We have a lot of people on our football team that are hurting right now, and we're going to do everything we can to help them get through this."

Turquorius Vines, 23, said he and Pitts were approached by two men at the party who started arguing with them over a woman.

Vines said he punched one of the men while Pitts hit both of them over the head with a bottle. Either one or both of the men then started shooting, he said.

Vines said he had never seen the men before.

Auburn Mayor Bill Ham said, "We are distraught that violence was used in such a senseless way and young lives were lost."

Leonard has been arrested in the past for failure to pay child support, second-degree assault and theft of property and possession of a handgun without a license.

"This is a trying time," Dawson said. "Not only university students and athletes, but it's young people. It's six young people that have been shot. As you can tell, the community is shaken by this and grieving today. ... Them being football players really has nothing to do with this. They're victims of a shooting."

(USA Today)

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