Auburn community reacts to triple murder - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Auburn community reacts to triple murder

Police released this image of Desmonte Leonard, 22, who they suspect opened fire at a party, killing 3 and injuring 3. Police released this image of Desmonte Leonard, 22, who they suspect opened fire at a party, killing 3 and injuring 3.
AUBURN, AL (WTVM) -

Auburn police along with several other law enforcement agencies, both local and national, are coming together to bring 22-year-old Desmonte Leonard to justice.

"One of the most critical aspects of any crime of this nature is the united effort of all law enforcement agencies that are affected," said Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones. "We work together to pool all the resources to be absolutely relentless in the pursuit of this individual and that is exactly what we plan to do."

The news spread fast of the murders of Edward Christian, Ladarious Phillips, and Gemario Pitts, and immediately Auburn came together to mourn.

Auburn Mayor Bill Ham said, "I want the family members to know this community reaches out to them. They are in our prayers and thoughts and we will do everything possible through our police division to bring these individuals, or individual, whatever the case may be, to justice as quickly as possible."

While police work tirelessly to find the suspect in this crime, Sheriff Jones says they are looking for support from residents, "The best thing folks can do right now if they have any information is to get on the line, dial 9-1-1, and trust me it will be transferred and get to the right people."

Sheriff Jones says this crime will unfortunately stay fresh on the minds of many, "This is going to affect the community for a long time. There is no question about that. This is not something we experience on a common basis; this is one of those unprecedented events. It brings back memories of Miss Burk's murder several years ago, and we hope to never revisit that type of feeling ever again, but unfortunately these things do happen. The only thing we can do is make sure we expend every effort we can to bring that person to justice."

Not only has law enforcement come together for this investigation, but the Auburn community has shown a great sense of family.

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Desmonte Leonard turned himself in to authorities after a three-day manhunt. Leonard, 22, is accused of killing three people at an off-campus party near Auburn University. More>>

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