A 22-year-old Alabama man, by the name of Desmonte Leonard, allegedly shot and killed three Auburn University students and wounded three others when he pulled a gun to allegedly settle a dispute over a woman at an off-campus pool party.
Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson said Leonard should be considered "armed and extremely dangerous," and said he hopes to make an arrest today after an ongoing manhunt in Montgomery County.
Two former Auburn football players, Ladarious Phillips and Ed Christian, and a man identified as Demario Pitts were killed in the shooting. Current players Eric Mack, Xavier Moss and John Robertson were wounded.
"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.
The police chief added that 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."
Officers received a call reporting the shooting at the University Heights apartments about 10:03 p.m. Saturday, Dawson said. Arriving officers found Edward Christian, 20, dead at the scene. Christian was reportedly off the football team due to an injury.
Former player Ladarious Phillips, 20, and Auburn resident Demario Pitts, 20, died later at a hospital. Two others, including current Auburn sophomore offensive lineman Eric Mack, 20, remained hospitalized at East Alabama Medical Center in the nearby town of Opelika.
Police believe gunfire erupted during a fight at a party. Leonard was thought to have fled the scene in a white Chevrolet Caprice, which police later found abandoned in a nearby county.
Gene Chizik, Auburn head football coach, called it "a sad, sad day for everyone associated with the entire Auburn family." Chizik said he is "devastated" at the three deaths, including those of Christian and Phillips, who he knew personally.