Auburn University Shooting: Manhunt on for Suspect in Killing of Three

Shooting that left 3 dead, 3 wounded, began in argument over woman.

June 10, 2012, 11:31 AM

June 10, 2012— -- A manhunt is under way for an Alabama man who allegedly shot and killed three Auburn University students and wounded three others when he pulled a gun to settle a dispute at an off-campus party, police said.

Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson said he signed three warrants charging Desmonte Leonard, 22, with capital murder. He warned that Leonard should be considered "armed and extremely dangerous."

Dawson said he hopes to make an arrest today. 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 were killed in the shooting.

Current Auburn football player Eric Mack and 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 under 21 years old.

"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.

Phillips' mother, Jemecia Phillips, told ABC News that her son, a 20-year-old fullback, had planned to transfer to Jackson State University, Jemecia said, adding that she was proud of him.

"He was always helpful," she said.

Auburn University football coach Gene Chizik said he was saddened for the "entire Auburn family," but was "devastated" to learn that two of his players had been killed.

"Nobody should ever have to endure such unimaginable grief, and we will love and support the victims' families during this terribly difficult time," Chizik said.

The university and its athletic director released statements of grief and condolences to the victims' families and friends. University officials are in "constant contact" with authorities to assist as needed, according to a statement.

Turquorius Vines, 23, told The Associated Press he was at the pool party when he and his friends began arguing over a woman with two men they'd never seen before.

Vines punched one of the strangers and his friend hit them over the head with a bottle. That was when the strangers -- either one or both of them -- began shooting.

His friend died at the scene, he said.

No one answered when ABC News called Vines' phone number, but he told the AP that losing his friend was like losing a lung.

"I don't know how I'm going to survive this," he said.

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