Auburn shooting suspect in custody, law enforcement speaks - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Auburn shooting suspect in custody, law enforcement hopes to bring closure

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Law enforcement addressed the media Tuesday night following the surrender of Auburn shooting suspect Desmonte Leonard. Authorities expressed relief at Leonard's surrender but say this isn't over yet.

"At approximately 7:57 this evening Desmonte Leonard turned himself in to Art Baylor and the U.S. Marshals," explained Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson. "Once again to the families, I'm sorry, you continue to be in our thoughts and prayers daily."

Dawson thanked all law enforcement agencies involved including the U.S. Marshals and the Montgomery Police Department.

"MPD worked this case like it was their own...it just really makes me proud to be in law enforcement," said Dawson.

Montgomery Police Chief Kevin Murphy added that this case was a team effort.

Dawson again addressed the families and said, "I know your young men won't be coming home. But hopefully this arrest will give you some closure…we're going to move forward. It's a new day tomorrow."

Authorities wouldn't get in to any evidence in the case, including where Leonard may have been hiding. They explained that the evidence will be for the District Attorney to present in court.

Leonard will be processed into the Montgomery County Detention Facility until his first hearing when authorities will decide where he will be housed. He is charged with three counts of capital murder and two counts of first-degree assault - there will be no bond in this case.

"It's a relief that we have him in custody," said Dawson. "But in a case like this there's really no relief because these boys aren't coming home tonight. And Mr. Leonard has his own mama, it's almost like she's lost a son as well."

Dawson believes Leonard's mother was instrumental in helping to facilitate his surrender but also credited the work of the media and the law enforcement on the case.

"You can't run but so long. It's a psychological thing," said Dawson. "We were going to pursue him til we caught him. This is probably the greatest effort I've ever seen among law enforcement. We're a family and when one of us is hurting, we're all hurting. When one community suffers, we all suffer."

Law enforcement says that even though Desmonte Leonard is in custody, they're not done working. "This is a capital murder case," said Dawson. "There's a lot of work to get done. We have a lot of things to tie up."

Chief Dawson emphasized that ultimately, this is about the victims and their families who need the support now.

"I'm sorry tonight. It's been a long night. It's nice to bring Desmonte Leonard into custody, it's nice to have him in jail, but let's not forget the families and the reason why we're all here."

Statement from Auburn University President Jay Gogue:

"We appreciate the dedication and commitment of the Auburn City Police Department and other law enforcement agencies. This is a difficult time for our campus and community. We're remembering those who lost their lives, and it's important that we pull together to help those who are grieving and recovering. We're offering counseling to students, and we've reached out to the families. I ask everyone to offer your thoughts, prayers and support to those who need it."

Auburn President Jay Gogue

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