Two arrested in Auburn case

Updated: June 12, 2012, 4:12 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Police have arrested two men in connection with a weekend shooting near the campus of Auburn University, but Desmonte Leonard, who faces three counts of capital murder, remains at large, according to an Auburn police report released Monday afternoon.

Jeremy S. Thomas, of Montgomery, Ala., was apprehended Monday after he allegedly fled the scene with Leonard and another man following a shooting Saturday night that left three dead and three wounded. The 18-year-old Thomas was charged with hindering prosecution in the first degree and is being held in a Montgomery jail. Police did not release the name of the second person arrested Monday.

[+] Enlarge Desmonte Leonard suspect in Auburn shootings
AP Photo/David GoldmanAuburn police chief Tommy Dawson said federal, state and local law enforcement agencies were actively hunting for a suspect ID'ed as Desmonte Leonard, 22, of Montgomery, Ala.

Leonard, 22, of Montgomery, is accused of opening fire at an apartment complex near campus after getting into a fight with some of the victims over a woman.

Two of those slain were former players for the school's powerhouse football program.

Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson said Leonard fled the scene in a white Chevrolet that he abandoned on the way back to Montgomery, about 55 miles away. They believed he was in the Montgomery area.

Later Monday, a tactical team searched an attic where they believed Leonard may have been hiding.

Montgomery public safety director Chris Murphy says officers have tried to negotiate with a person in the attic and order him to come out. Murphy says authorities decided to send in the tactical team after tear gas failed to flush the person out.

Still, Murphy cautioned that the team was proceeding slowly and that there wasn't a timetable for bringing someone out.

Court records show Montgomery police arrested Leonard in 2008 on a charge of carrying a pistol without a license, after stopping a suspected stolen vehicle and finding him inside. Documents available online didn't show whether the case was ever resolved, but Leonard was freed on bond within days.

Leonard was charged in 2009 with assault after allegedly shooting a man in the groin, but prosecutors dropped the case after the victim told authorities Leonard wasn't the shooter.

Of the three wounded victims, John Robertson remained in critical condition after being shot in the head. Xavier Moss was released from the hospital. The third wounded victim was Eric Mack.

Mack is a junior offensive lineman from St. Matthews, S.C. He played in five games last season. Coach Gene Chizik said Mack was expected to recover.

Slain were Edward Christian, who had to quit the team because of a lingering back injury, and Ladarious Phillips, who had previously quit playing football. The other person killed was 20-year-old Demario Pitts.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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