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Auburn shootings: Ex-footballplayers among dead; shooterremains at-large


Two former Auburn University
football players were among three people killed in a shooting at an off-
campus party late Saturday--and a manhunt is on for the suspected
shooter. The players, Edward Christian and
Ladarious Phillips, both 20, were
confirmed dead by police on Sunday;
20-year-old Demario Pitts was also
killed. Three others--including Eric Mack, a
current Auburn offensive lineman--
were wounded after gunfire erupted
during a fight at an apartment
complex near campus, police said. All
three were hospitalized. John Robertson, a 20-year-old who
was shot in the head, was in critical
condition and undergoing surgery at
the Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham
Hospital, Auburn Police Chief Tommy
Dawson said at a news conference. Xavier Moss, 19, was treated and
released from East Alabama Medical
Center. Mack remains hospitalized, but
his injuries are not thought to be life
threatening. Dawson said police are searching for
Desmonte Leonard, 22, of
Montgomery, Ala., who has been
charged with three counts of capital
murder. Two other people are wanted for
questioning, thought their names
were not released. Police were called to the apartment
complex shortly after 10 p.m.
Saturday. Dawson said police have a
motive, but would not elaborate.
"That's for the courtroom," he said.
"We're deeply saddened about last night's tragic events that impacted the
Auburn community and the Auburn
family," Auburn Univ. president Jay
Gogue said in a statement. " Our heart-felt condolences go out to the
victims and their families. Please keep
them in your thoughts and prayers.
We're in constant contact with area
authorities and will continue to assist
in any way possible. Our attention is now focused on providing care and
support to those touched by this
tragedy." "This is a sad, sad day for everyone
associated with the entire Auburn
family," Auburn coach Gene Chizik
added in a separate statement. "I am
devastated by the passing of three
young men, including two that I personally knew in Ed Christian and
LaDarius Phillips and my heart goes
out to their families. We have a lot of
people on our football team that are
hurting right now and we're going to
do everything we can to help them get through this." Dawson said there does not appear to
be any connection between the
football team and shooting. "The only connection that the Auburn
football team has to this is they are
victims of a brutal shooting," Dawson
said, according to CNN. "Sometimes the young men get a bad rap, I feel
like, but they are the victims today."