Shooting in Auburn Claims Three Lives
June 10, 2012
On Saturday, June 9, 2012 at approximately 10:03 p.m. the Auburn Police Division responded to a report of shots fired in the area of a clubhouse at an apartment complex located in the 200 block of West Longleaf Drive.
When officers arrived on the scene they located multiple gunshot victims. Edward J. Christian, age 20, of Valdosta, Georgia was pronounced dead at the scene by Lee County Coroner Bill Harris. Two others, Ladarious K. Phillips, age 20, of Roanoke, Alabama, and Demario A. Pitts, age 20, of Opelika, Alabama, were transported by ambulance to East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) where they were pronounced dead.
Christian and Phillips are former Auburn University football players.
Three additional victims, Xavier D. Moss, age 19, and John Q. Robertson, age 20, both of Roanoke, Alabama, and Eric R. Mack, age 20, of Cameron, South Carolina, were transported by ambulance to EAMC for treatment of gunshot wounds. Moss was treated and released while Mack was admitted to EAMC and Robertson was transferred to UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.
Mack is a current Auburn University football player.
The shooter, who fled the scene in a vehicle along with two other men, has been identified as Desmonte D. Leonard, age 22, of Montgomery, Alabama. The vehicle was later found abandoned off Wire Road in Macon County.
Warrants for three counts of Capital Murder have been obtained on Leonard and officers are working to determine his whereabouts. Police are also working to locate and question the two men who fled with Leonard. Their identities are not being released at this time.
The case is being investigated by the Auburn Police Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshal’s Service, Lee County Coroner’s Office, and the State Medical Examiner’s Office. The Montgomery Police Department, Opelika Police Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, and the Macon County Sheriff’s Office are also assisting in the case.
Anyone with information pertaining to the case is asked to contact Auburn Police Division detectives at (334) 501-3140 or anonymously by text or voice to the tip line at (334) 246-1391.
PRESIDENT JAY GOGUE
"We're deeply saddened about last night's tragic events that impacted the Auburn community and the Auburn family. 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."
COACH GENE CHIZIK
"This is a sad, sad day for everyone associated with the entire Auburn family. 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. My thoughts and prayers are with their families and all of the victims involved in this tragic incident. Nobody should ever have to endure such unimaginable grief, and we will love and support the victims' families during this terribly difficult time. 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. We are relieved that Eric Mack, who was also a victim in this incident, is expected to make a full recovery. This is a very trying time for everyone involved, and I would just ask that you lift up the victims and their families in your prayers."
DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS JAY JACOBS
"This is a tragic day for the entire Auburn community. First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families who have been devastated by this senseless tragedy. We will support the families of the victims in the difficult days ahead in every way that we possibly can. Our student-athletes are obviously stunned and deeply saddened, and we are providing counseling and support for them as they grieve the loss of their teammates and friends."
AUBURN MAYOR BILL HAM
"On behalf of the citizens of Auburn, I express our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims of the tragic shooting in Auburn last night. We are distraught that violence was used in such a senseless way and young lives were lost. While violence is unsettling to our peaceful community, I have full confidence that our Police will handle this matter in a most professional manner, and will provide information to a concerned community as it is appropriate."