Auburn Shooting Suspect Still at LargeBy: Chris Gabbard - June 12, 2012
After a night spent searching and shooting tear gas into a house that was thought to contain the Auburn University shooting suspect, police have come up empty handed. They have vowed to continue the search today.
Tactical teams bombarded the house in search of Desmonte Leonard, who is charged with three counts of murder for the Saturday shooting at a pool party. Three others were wounded in the shooting, which took the lives of two former Auburn football players. One of the wounded is in critical condition after being shot in the head.
According to Police Chief Tommy Dawson, Leonard is on the loose and his police force will not rest until he is in custody. Reward for the fugitive’s capture has now been bumped to $30,000 in an effort to get the public involved in finding him.
Chief Dawson spoke to the gunman’s mother, who said she has not heard from her son since the shooting took place. She has left messages for the 22-year-old to turn himself in.
Last night, police took siege to a Montgomery house, when they got two reports that Leonard was at the premises. One of the 911 calls said that they personally dropped Leonard off at the house. Police shelled the house with tear gas and used thermal imaging sensors to see through the walls.
Late in the night, using the thermal imaging, they noticed what appeared to be a human figure in the attic of the home, and noises that may have been coughing. After hours of waiting they noticed that the noises a desisted, and they gave up.
Police scoured the house, searching air conditioning ducts and even drilling holes in the framework to look within walls. Dozens of police cruisers emergency vehicles and firetrucks circled the house until the early hours in the morning before they decided Leonard was not there.
A spokeswoman for Montgomery’s Public Safety Department, Martha Earnhardt, told the AP that charges could be filed on the people that provided false information to authorities.
Leonard had two previous arrests for gun related chrages. One for carrying a pistol without a liscense, and another for assault.
Police say that although the victims included several former football players, that was not the motivation behind the crime.