Reward Fund Increased In Manhunt

Ladarious Phillips

Authorities are still looking for the man charged with the murder of two former Auburn football players.

Auburn, Ala.--City of Auburn police chief Tommy Dawson said on Tuesday that Auburn University and the city of Montgomery have added more money to the reward fund to apprehend the man charged with killing two former Auburn football players and another man.

Dawson said the university has donated $10,000 and Montgomery has added $5,000 more to bring the total to $30,000.

"We will not rest," Dawson said of his department's efforts and the efforts of other law enforcement agencies to find Desmonte Leonard, 22, who faces three murder counts from a shooting incident at an off-campus party on Saturday night in which six people were hit by gunfire.

Former Tiger football players Ladarious Phillips and Ed Christian were killed and current player, Eric Mack, suffered a gunshot wound. Mack has been released from East Alabama Medical Center.

Ed Christian

Christian, an offensive lineman who was from Valdosta, Ga., had to give up football due to injuries. He was enrolled at Auburn as a student. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident shortly after police arrived after getting a call at 10:03 p.m. about gunshots at University Heights apartment complex on West Longleaf Drive off of South College Street.

Phillips quit the team earlier this year and planned to transfer to Jacksonville State University in search of more playing time. The fullback played at Handley High in Roanoke.

Dawson said that anybody who has information on how to find Leonard needs to call a hotline set up by the U.S. Marshals Service at (334) 223-5400.

"We will continue to search for Mr. Leonard until he is apprehended," said Dawson, who noted that he had talked with the suspect's mother, who is asking her son to turn himself into police, the chief said. Dawson added Leonard's mother said she had not had contact with him since the shootings on Saturday night.

"We have not rested, and we will not rest," Dawson said. "We owe it to the victims of this horrible crime."

Desmonte Leonard is the target of the manhunt.

Law enforcement officials surrounded a home in an east Montgomery neighborhood on Monday night after receiving a 911 call that Leonard was in the house. However, the suspect was not found.

Leonard's car was found abandoned off of Wire Road in Macon County shortly after the shooting and he has been on the run since then. Dawson said on Tuesday that he is confident that Leonard, who is from Montgomery, is in the Montgomery area. The Auburn chief thanked Montgomery officials for the time and effort they have put into the manhunt.

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