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Two ex-Auburn players killed, current player wounded in dispute

The SportsXchange

Two former Auburn football players were killed and a current player was wounded after an alleged shooting at an apartment complex near the Auburn, Ala., campus Saturday night.

Auburn police chief Tommy Dawson said Sunday night former Tigers Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips suffered fatal gunshot wounds.

Eric Mack, a sophomore offensive lineman who was expected to play next season, suffered a gunshot wound and was receiving treatment at a nearby hospital, Dawson said.

A third person not associated with the Auburn football team was killed in the incident at the pool party, according to Dawson. Two other people are in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, he added.

Three capital murder charges have been filed against shooting suspect Desmonte Leonard of Montgomery. He has yet to be apprehended, Dawson said.

"I'd like to reach out to Mr. Leonard to turn himself in today," said Dawson. He did not say if charges had been filed against any other individuals, but the police are looking for two other "persons of interest."

"We do have a motive, but we're not going to release that today," he said.

The incident escalated from an argument between several men around University Heights complex's pool to a gunfight.

All three players were part of Auburn's 2010 recruiting class, but only Mack is still on team. A bad back forced Christian to quit the team and Phillips had lost interest in the game.

"The only connection the Auburn players has is they're a victim of a brutal shooting," Dawson said "It's not just about the Auburn football players; it's about the other young men who have been injured.

"I don't believe they were targeted. I believe it was a fight that went too far."

FBI, U.S. Marshals and local police agencies are involved in the manhunt for Leonard, Dawson said.
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