Police in Alabama as well as the FBI and US Marshals Service are still searching for Desmonte Leonard, the 22-year-old alleged shooter accused of murdering three people Saturday night, including two former Auburn football players. Yesterday, three capital murder charges were issued for the Montgomery native.
Leonard allegedly shot and killed three, critically wounded another, and injured two more at an apartment complex near the Auburn campus. He has been arrested twice before on gun charges and has been sued twice for child support, according to The Birmingham News. In addition to Leonard — photo at left — police are also looking for two “persons of interest” in the case.
The former players killed were 20-year-olds Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips. Christian gave up football due to a bad back. Phillips was planning to transfer to Jacksonville State.
Current Tiger offensive lineman Eric Mack was released from the hospital late yesterday afternoon after being shot in the hip/buttocks. Mack said that he was so worried about his fallen friends that he did not realize he had been shot.
“I just wanted to make sure everybody was safe. I wasn’t even worried about myself. When I first found out I got shot, I didn’t even realize it. I was still walking around checking on my teammates making sure they were all right. I just couldn’t believe it. It just seemed unreal. Even now, it still seems unreal. I couldn’t believe it.”
Officials have said that the shootings likely had nothing to do with the fact that some of the victims were current or former Auburn football players.
“This is a sad, sad day for everyone associated with the entire Auburn family,” Gene Chizik said in a Sunday statement. “I am devastated by the passing of three young men, including two that I personally knew. My thoughts and prayers are with their families and all of the victims involved in this tragic incident. Nobody should ever have to endure such unimaginable grief.”
The third murdered victim of Leonard’s shooting spree was 20-year-old Demario Pitts. Meanwhile, John Robertson — a friend of Phillips’ who was critically wounded — is “fighting for his life” at UAB Hospital.
Evan Woodberry of Al.com provides an in-depth look at the three lives that were so senselessly lost. And his Al.com colleague, Tommy Hicks, says the situation “is not a reflection on college athletics or Auburn specifically. It is a reflection on our society, and the reflection is not pretty.”
SEC football players from Alabama to Georgia tweeted their condolences and memorials.
We at MrSEC.com send our thoughts and prayers to those who lost loved ones or had them injured in this horrible, tragic attack. Our best wishes to the AU family as a whole, as well. The Auburn campus must still be in shock today.
As we all are.