Alabama's Greg Byrne refutes story placing Kai Spears at shooting

March 16, 2023, 8:09 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne refuted a New York Times report placing men's basketball walk-on Kai Spears at the scene of a shooting in January, saying it was "inaccurate" and "untrue."

Byrne made his remarks in a statement that was issued during halftime of the Crimson Tide's NCAA tournament game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Thursday.

Former Alabama basketball player Darius Miles was indicted last week on capital murder charges for supplying his friend Michael Davis with the gun that was used to kill 23-year-old Jamea Harris on Jan. 15.

During a court hearing last month, a police officer testified that Miles texted Alabama star forward Brandon Miller, asking Miller to bring Miles' gun to him in the early-morning hours of the shooting. Fellow teammate Jaden Bradley was also allegedly in the area during the shooting. Neither Miller nor Bradley has been accused of a crime.

Police also testified at the hearing that there was a passenger in Miller's car at the scene of the shooting -- one who was not named. The Times' report Wednesday said that passenger was Spears.

"Last night, an inaccurate report was published about Kai Spears, one of our student-athletes, being present at the time of the incident. This is untrue," Byrne said in his statement. "As law enforcement previously shared, Brandon Miller and Jaden Bradley were present. Both are fully cooperating witnesses. Neither have been charged with any offense nor did they violate University policy.

"Some inaccurate narratives have been reported about the involvement of Alabama student-athletes that display an unfortunate disregard of the facts. We ask all to exercise careful due diligence before reporting on this sensitive situation."

Spears and his father, Marshall athletic director Christian Spears, released statements refuting the Times report. Christian Spears called the New York Times story "irresponsible and demonstrably false." He added, "We are exploring all legal options at this time."

Alabama initially released an unattributed statement Wednesday night saying, "Based upon the information we have there were no current student-athletes present at the scene other than Brandon Miller and Jaden Bradley, who are both fully cooperating witnesses."

Byrne followed Thursday with a lengthy statement of his own.

"As previously mentioned, it is not our role to share details about a pending legal matter," Byrne said in his statement. "We will rely on law enforcement to disclose information if and when they deem it appropriate as we continue to fully support their investigation. Questions about the incident should be directed to them. Nevertheless, we felt like we had to address the inaccurate report from last evening."