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Entries in Auburn University (4)

Thursday
Jun142012

Auburn Shooting Suspect Denied Bail, Could Face Death Penalty

Auburn Police Division(OPELIKA, Ala.) -- The man accused of a triple murder near Auburn University in Alabama made his first court appearance today, where he was denied bail and could face the death penalty if convicted on capital murder charges.

Desmonte Leonard, 22, arrived in the Lee County Justice Center courtroom in Opelika, Ala., shackled at his waist and ankles, wearing a T-shirt and low-slung jeans.

Leonard received court-appointed attorneys after saying that he could not afford to pay for his legal defense.

Alabama District Judge Russell Bush charged Leonard with three counts of capital murder and two counts of second-degree assault.

Leonard surrendered to federal agents in the lobby of a U.S. courthouse in Montgomery, Ala. Tuesday, following a manhunt by local, national and federal authorities.

He allegedly opened fire at a party near Auburn University Saturday night, killing three people and wounding three others. It is unclear at the time why he was not charged with three counts of second-degree assault.

Two former Auburn football players, Ladarious Phillips and Ed Christian, and another man identified as Demario Pitts, died in the shooting.

Auburn football players Eric Mack, Xavier Moss and John Robertson were wounded. Robertson was undergoing surgery for a gunshot wound to the head and "fighting for his life," police said.

All six victims were younger than 21 and police have said that the men were not targeted for being football players, but were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Leonard's next court date appearance has yet to be scheduled.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun122012

Auburn Shooting Suspect Desmonte Leonard Under Arrest in Alabama

Auburn Police Division(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) -- The man suspected of a triple murder near Auburn University over the weekend has surrendered to U.S. marshals, a law enforcement official told ABC News.

Desmonte Leonard, 22, was arrested Tuesday in Montgomery, Ala., a law enforcement official said.

On Monday, Alabama police believed they missed Leonard by minutes when they arrived at a house where he was reported to be hiding.

Investigators from local, national and federal levels had been searching for Leonard around the clock since he allegedly opened fire at a party near Auburn University on Saturday night, killing three people and wounding three others.

The manhunt initially proved fruitless and maddening for the officials, though they suspected he was in Montgomery, where they believed he fled after the shooting.

Leonard was wanted on three counts of capital murder.

Two former Auburn football players, Ladarious Phillips and Ed Christian, and another man identified as Demario Pitts, died in the shooting.

Auburn football players Eric Mack, Xavier Moss and John Robertson were wounded, Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson said.

Robertson was undergoing surgery for a gunshot wound to the head and "fighting for his life," Dawson added.

All six victims were younger than 21 and police have said that the men were not targeted for being football players, but were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.

The search seemed to be coming to an end on Monday night when a woman said she walked into a house and saw a man believed to be Leonard sitting on the couch. She called 911 and dozens of officers responded to the scene.

The house was tear-gassed and police technology seemed to indicate some movement in the house, but when a SWAT team finally entered the home, Leonard was nowhere to be found.

"We would not have put the resources out there if we did not fully believe he was there. Once we got there, we fully believed he was still there," Montgomery Director of Public Safety Chris Murphy said at a news conference Tuesday.

Authorities said there was a gap of between 15 and 20 minutes from when the 911 call was placed to when officers arrived.

Police said they believe Leonard does have a connection to the house, but not with the woman who claimed to have seen him there. Police would not specify the connection, but said it was not a family member's home.

"It's hard for us to discern exactly when he left and exactly when we arrived," Montgomery Police Chief Kevin Murphy said at the news conference. "It's very close."

The house search was not the first time this week investigators have hit a dead end.

Earlier this week, Gabriel Thomas, 41, and Jeremy Thomas, 18, were arrested and charged with hindering prosecution in the search for Leonard.

Gabriel Thomas allegedly had contact with Leonard and then provided misleading information in the search, according to police. And Jeremy Thomas allegedly fled with Leonard the night of the shooting. Police would not comment on whether the two men are related.

"We also want to emphasize that if you call any of these law enforcement and give deliberate false information to send us in a direction away from capturing this suspect -- we've already taken out two warrants and we'll take out as many as necessary," Murphy said.

Police are looking for the person who reported dropping off Leonard at the house in Montgomery. Authorities say they know who the man is, but would not release any more information about him or his possible involvement in the matter.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun112012

Auburn University Shooting: Manhunt Continues for Suspect

Auburn Police Division(AUBURN, Ala.) -- Police are searching Monday 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 on Saturday.

Auburn, Ala., Police Chief Tommy Dawson said he signed three warrants charging Desmonte Leonard with capital murder.  He warned that Leonard should be considered "armed and extremely dangerous."  Police are urging Leonard to turn himself in.

Dawson said on 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.

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, 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."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun082011

Obama Salutes Auburn Tigers...and Robert Gibbs

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The president honored the Auburn University Tigers at the White House Wednesday for their 2010 college football national championship and for “winning their first national title since before I was born.”

“I’m getting quite a bit of gray hair. So that was a long wait for Tigers fans,” Obama joked.

After “one of the toughest schedules in all of college football last year” Auburn defeated Oregon 22-19 to win the Bowl Championship Series and complete a perfect 14-0 season.

Wednesday’s event was originally slated for late April but was rescheduled due to the devastating tornadoes that hit Alabama and the president’s trip to the affected areas.

Obama thanked members of the team for helping with the recovery effort.

“Even though one of the toughest-hit areas by the storm was the home of the Crimson Tide, this team knew what we all know in situations like this, which is we’re all on the same team. We’re all Americans first and foremost, and we’ve got an obligation to support each other in times of need,” he said.

Obama opened his remarks with a “point of personal privilege” to recognize “the biggest Auburn fan I’ve ever met” -- his former press secretary Robert Gibbs.

Gibbs, who grew up in Auburn, Ala., brought his son Ethan who, according to the president, “has inherited the passion for Auburn that his dad had.”

Obama also took the opportunity to expose the extent of Gibbs’ fanaticism. “Earlier this year when the team was making its run to the championship, Robert was insufferable.  He had a little statue of Aubie on his desk…he and Ethan would roll the trees in front of the yard after a big win.  So this is a big day for him,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio