AUBURN, Ala. (AP) – 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.
Two of the slain victims were former players for the school’s powerhouse football program.
Authorities were searching for Desmonte Leonard, 22, of Montgomery, who is accused of opening fire Saturday night at an apartment complex after getting into a fight with some of the victims over a woman. He faces three counts of capital murder.
Auburn Police Chief Tommy 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.
Of the three wounded victims, John Robertson remained in critical condition after being shot in the head. Xavier Moss was released from the hospital. The third wounded victim was Eric Mack, a current football player who is expected to recover.
Slain were Edward Christian, who had to quit the team because of a lingering back injury, and Ladarious Phillips, who had previously quit playing football. The other person killed was 20-year-old Demario Pitts.
Police emphasized that the shootings didn’t appear to have anything to do with some of the victims being former or current players on the football team, which won the national championship in 2010.
“The only connection that the Auburn football team has to this is they are victims of a brutal shooting. Sometimes the young men get a bad rap, I feel like, but they are the victims today,” Dawson said.
Dawson said he did not know why the party was being held or what started the fight.
Turquorius Vines, 23, said he was at the party Saturday evening at the University Heights apartments with one of his friend, Pitts. He said he and his friend were approached by two other men who started arguing with them over a woman.