Police are searching this morning for a 22-year-old Alabama man who they believe shot six people, killing three of them at an off-campus party near Auburn University Saturday.
Auburn, Ala., Police Chief Tommy Dawson said he signed three warrants charging Desmonte Leonard, 22, with capital murder. He warned that Leonard should be considered "armed and extremely dangerous." Police are urging Leonard to turn himself in.
Dawson said Sunday that he hoped to make an arrest at the end of the day. Leonard was last seen on foot, and police believe he is still in Montgomery County.
"... Work together and pool all the resources and be absolutely relentless in the pursuit of this individual and that's exactly what we intend to do," said Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones.
Two former Auburn football players, Ladarious Phillips and Ed Christian, and another man identified as Demario Pitts died in the shooting.
Auburn football player Eric Mack and Xavier Moss and John Robertson were wounded, Dawson said. Robertson was undergoing surgery for a gunshot wound to the head and "fighting for his life," Dawson said.
All six victims were younger than 21.
"This is a trying time, 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," Dawson said, later saying that he was "sickened" by the tragedy.
The police chief said the only connection between the university football team and the shooting was that the players happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"Sometimes, the young men get a bad rap, I feel like, but they are the victims today," Dawson said. "Them being football players really has nothing to do with this. They're victims of a shooting."
Auburn Mayor Bill Ham Jr. said, "Auburn University alumni from across the country and throughout the state are shocked by what's happened. I want the family members to know that this community reaches out to them, that they are in our prayers and thoughts."
Phillips' mother, Jemecia Phillips, said her son, a 20-year-old fullback, had planned to transfer to Jackson State University, adding that she was proud of him.
"He was always helpful," she said.
Auburn University football coach Gene Chizik said he was saddened for the "entire Auburn family," but was "devastated" to learn that two of his players had been killed.
"Nobody should ever have to endure such unimaginable grief, and we will love and support the victims' families during this terribly difficult time," Chizik said.
The university and its athletic director released statements of grief and condolences to the victims' families and friends. University officials are in "constant contact" with authorities to assist as needed, according to a statement.
Turquorius Vines, 23, told The Associated Press he was at the pool party when he and his friends began arguing over a woman with two men they'd never seen before.
Vines punched one of the strangers and his friend hit them over the head with a bottle. That was when the strangers -- either one or both of them -- began shooting.
His friend died at the scene, he said. He told The Associated Press that losing his friend was like losing a lung.
"I don't know how I'm going to survive this," he said.Also Read