Police arrest person of interest, as manhunt for killer of former Auburn University football players continues

U.S. marshals join search for suspect in deadly shootings which included former Tiger football players


Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson looked into press cameras Sunday and told 22-year old Desmonte Leonard to turn himself in. He also warned the public Leonard is "armed and dangerous" and anyone who spots him should call 9-1-1.

Dawson held up a picture of Leonard and said he's the man who opened fire Saturday at a seemingly innocent pool party near the Auburn University campus. Six men were shot, three are still alive. One of them is a football player for the SEC school, 20-year old Eric Mac, who has been released from the hospital. Another man, 19-year-old Xavier Moss, has also been treated and released. John Robertson, 20, spent the better half of the weekend fighting for his life after suffering a bullet to his head.

On Monday, police arrested one of the persons of interest in the shooting, Jeremy Thomas, 18, in Montgomery, Ala., Dawson said.

At a team meeting Sunday, head coach Gene Chizik offered support to friends and family of the team, saying, "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."

Three men did not survive the massacre. Former Tigers players Edward Christian and Ladarious Phillips; 20-year-old Demario Pitts also died.

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"This is a trying time, not only for university students and athletes, but its young people," said Dawson. "It's six young people that have been shot. As you can tell, the community is shaken by this and grieving today."

Now law enforcement is stepping up. Dawson says he's getting assistance from the Montgomery Police Department, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service. There is a $15,000 reward, and the chief is optimistic another arrest will be made soon.

There is also one other man police are looking for, but his identities has not been made public. And although police have a good idea about what exactly happened around 10 p.m. Saturday, the details about a motive weren't made public. Some witnesses say the shooting stemmed from an argument over a woman. 

Not much is known about a murder weapon -- or weapons.

Regardless of the unknowns, There's a community in mourning.

“We’re deeply saddened about last night’s tragic events that impacted the Auburn community and the Auburn family," said Auburn University President Jay Gogue in a statement. "Our heartfelt 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.”


Elizabeth Prann currently serves as a Washington-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). She joined the network in 2006 as a production assistant. Click here for more information on Elizabeth Prann