(Joshua S. Kelly/US Presswire)The Auburn community is mourning after former Auburn football players Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips were shot and killed during an off-campus party Saturday night. Offensive lineman Eric Mack also was injured in the shooting, but his injuries are not considered life-threatening. A third person, who was not a football player, also died in the shooting.
"This is a sad, sad day for everyone associated with the entire Auburn family," coach Gene Chizik said in a statement released by the university. "I am devastated by the passing of three young men, including two that I personally knew in Ed Christian and Ladarious 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."
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the fight broke out between several men over a woman, but no other details were given. Two of the men left the fight and returned to the apartment complex clubhouse where the party was being held with a gun and started shooting indiscriminately. One witness said the alleged gunman, Desmonte Leonard, blocked the only exit to the clubhouse before he started firing. Leonard is still at large and wanted on three counts of capital murder.
Police said that the shootings were random and not specifically directed toward Auburn football players.
In 2010, three Southern Miss football players — Martez Smith, Tim Green and Deddrick Jones — were shot during a fight outside of a nightclub. All three lived, but Smith was paralyzed from the waist down.
[Related: Three killed, three more wounded in shooting]
Earlier that year, Florida International running back Kendall Berry was fatally stabbed outside of the campus rec center during a verbal altercation.
In April, Western Kentucky defensive lineman Tevin Holliman and defensive back Ricardo Singh were shot outside of a bar, but neither had life-threatening injuries.
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