House surrounded in Auburn shootings case

June 11, 2012 at 8:57 PM
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AUBURN, Ala., June 11 (UPI) -- Authorities surrounded a home in Montgomery, Ala., Monday evening where they suspected the gunman in a triple slaying in Auburn was hiding out, officials said.

Officers from the FBI, U.S. Marshals, and Montgomery and Auburn police departments converged on the Young Meadows neighborhood residence about 6:30 p.m. after a tip came in that murder suspect Desmonte Leonard was inside, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.

Sgt. Regina Duckett, a police spokeswoman, said officers were trying to make contact with Leonard, the newspaper said.

Two other suspects were in custody Monday as police hunted for Leonard, authorities said.

Gabriel Thomas, 41, was picked up Sunday night and Jeremy Thomas, 18, was arrested Monday morning, the Advertiser said. The two Montgomery men, whose relationship was unclear, are accused of hindering authorities in their efforts to find Leonard.

The older suspect allegedly had been in contact with Leonard and provided misleading information to investigators, while the younger suspect allegedly fled the shooting scene with Leonard, the newspaper said.

Speaking at a news conference Sunday, Auburn police Chief Tommy Dawson identified Leonard, 22, of Montgomery as the primary suspect and sought the public's cooperation in finding him, the Birmingham News reported Monday.

Auburn police have sworn out three capital murder warrants against Leonard, who is accused of killing three people, including former Auburn University football players Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips, and injuring three others during a weekend party in an apartment complex near the university.

The newspaper said court records indicate Leonard has been arrested twice before on gun charges, including the 2009 shooting of a 16-year-old who later said Leonard was not his assailant and a 2008 gun possession case. He also has been involved in two child support civil cases, one involving a girl now 4 years old and another filed Friday, records indicate.

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