The Lookout

Auburn shooting suspect due in court

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Auburn shooting suspect Desmonte Leonard (Montgomery County Sheriff's Office)

Desmonte Leonard, the man charged with three counts of capital murder in last weekend's shootings in Auburn, Ala., is expected in court after surrendering to authorities who had launched a statewide manhunt for him.

Leonard, 22, turned himself in at the federal courthouse in Montgomery late Tuesday.

"You can't run but for so long," Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson said. "We were going to pursue until we caught him."

Earlier Tuesday, authorities searched a house where Leonard was believed to be hiding for more than six hours but could not find him.

"It's been a trying case for all law enforcement involved," Dawson said.

[Slideshow: Manhunt for Auburn shooting suspect]

Susan James, a Montgomery defense attorney, said she contacted U.S. marshals after Leonard's family asked for her help. According to the Associated Press, James picked Leonard up at an undisclosed location 50 miles from Montgomery and drove him to the federal courthouse "where snipers were perched on the roof."

Leonard "was very calm, very tired and very ready to get this over with, and very respectful," James said.

Leonard was booked into Montgomery jail on Tuesday and is expected to be transferred to Auburn for his first court appearance on Wednesday or Thursday, Dawson said.

Two former Auburn University football players—Edward Christian and Ladarious Phillips, both 20—were killed in Saturday's shootings at an off-campus party. Demario Pitts, 20, was also killed.

Three others—including Eric Mack, a current Auburn offensive lineman—were wounded as the gunfire erupted during a fight at an apartment complex near campus, police said. All three were hospitalized. Mack's injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

John Robertson, a 20-year-old who was shot in the head, was in critical condition after undergoing surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. Xavier Moss, 19, was treated and released from East Alabama Medical Center.

Dawson said Sunday there does not appear to be any connection between the football team and the shootings.

"The only connection that the Auburn football team has to this is they are victims of a brutal shooting," he said.

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