Auburn shooting leaves two former football players dead

Investigators were searching for a gunman suspected of killing three people -- including two former Auburn University football players -- and wounding three others at a pool party near campus after several men began punching each other in a fight over a woman, authorities and witnesses said Sunday.

Auburn (Ala.) Police Chief Tommy Dawson said during a news conference that current football player Eric Mack was among those wounded and was being treated at a hospital.

Players react to Auburn shooting

Several NFL players took to Twitter to share their thoughts and condolences on the shooting deaths of two former Auburn players. More ...

Slain were Edward Christian, who had not been playing because of a back injury, and Ladarious Phillips, who had previously quit playing football. The other person killed was 20-year-old Demario Pitts.

"The only connection that the Auburn football team has to this is they are victims of a brutal shooting. Sometimes the young men get a bad rap, I feel like, but they are the victims today," Dawson said.

Auburn coach Gene Chizik said in a statement the football team was hurting from the shooting.

"This is a sad, sad day for everyone associated with the entire Auburn family," the statement read. "I am devastated by the passing of three young men, including two that I personally knew in Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips and my heart goes out to their families."

Former Auburn Tiger Jerraud Powers was one of several NFL players to react on Twitter.

"Y'all pray for my auburn family and the victims families," said Powers, a cornerback for the Indianapolis Colts.

Police say Desmonte Leonard has been charged with capital murder and has not yet been captured. Dawson urged Leonard to turn himself in and also said authorities were searching for two other persons of interest.

Mack, the wounded player, is a junior offensive lineman from St. Matthews, S.C. He played in five games last season. Chizik said Mack was expected to make a full recovery.

Christian is an offensive lineman who was out last season while dealing with a back injury. Phillips was a backup fullback. Chizik said in April that Phillips had decided to give up football.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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