A hunt was underway Sunday for the man police say shot six youngmen, killing three and leaving a fourth clinging to life, at anoff-campus party near Auburn University in Alabama late Saturday. The incident reportedly began with a dispute over a woman. Former Auburn football players Edward Christian and LadariousPhillips were pronounced dead along with Damario Pitts. All were20. Although no longer on the team, Christian and Phillips hadremained students at the university in Auburn. |
John Robertson, 20, was "fighting for his life" and undergoingsurgery at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Hospital, Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson said at a newsconference Sunday. Current player Eric Mack, 20, a lineman, wastreated and released, as was Xavier Moss, 19. "I don't believe they were targeted; I believe there was a fightand someone got carried away and things went too far," Dawson said. Police were hunting for Montgomery, Ala., resident DesmonteLeonard, 22, who was charged with three counts of capital murder. "We plead with anyone who knows his location, just call 911,wherever you're at," Dawson said.
Turquorius Vines, 23, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that hewas partying with friends and former Auburn football players at aUniversity Heights apartment complex a couple of miles from campusshortly before the shooting. "It was about a female," Vines said. "It started from a female. Wewere trying to get away from the trouble and it ended up right inour face." Vines told the Associated Press that he and Pitts got into a fightwith two men he had never seen before, and one or both of thestrangers opened fire. "It's like I lost a lung," Vines said.
"Idon't know how I'm going to survive this." Dawson would not confirm those details other than to say, "It was aparty, a fight began, and during the fight shots were fired." Police were looking for two more "persons of interest," Dawsonsaid. In football-crazy Alabama, Dawson was quick to separate the teamfrom the crime. "The only connection that the Auburn football team has to this isthat they are victims of a brutal shooting," he said. "Sometimesthe young men get a bad rap, I feel like. But they're the victimstoday." Auburn University President Jay Gogue issued a statement pledgingto do everything possible to help authorities and victims.
"We'redeeply saddened about last night's tragic events. ... Our attentionis now focused on providing care and support to those touched bythis tragedy," he said. The Auburn Tigers won the 2010 national championship. email@example.com.
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