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UPDATE: Auburn police arrest person of interest in Saturday night shooting

Authorities arrested two men Monday in the aftermath of a triple homicide in Auburn, Ala., but the most wanted man in the state remained on the loose. Law enforcement officials combed the capital city of Montgomery, where the alleged gunman, Desmonte D. Leonard, was thought to be hiding.

Leonard, 22, is accused of fatally shooting three men and wounding three others Saturday night at a pool party near campus. But while his whereabouts remained unknown, police said they nabbed one of two “persons of interest” who allegedly fled the University Heights apartments with Leonard.

Jeremy S. Thomas was taken into custody in Montgomery, where he was being questioned by Auburn police. Thomas, 18, was charged with one count of first-degree hindering prosecution and awaiting transfer to the Lee County Detention Center.

Court records show Thomas is scheduled to go to trial Monday on manslaughter charges in a separate case. A judge revoked his bond in that case Monday.

Separately, Montgomery police filed charges late Sunday against 41-year-old Gabriel K. Thomas, accusing him of providing “misleading” information to the authorities in their pursuit of Leonard. Gabriel Thomas was being held on $15,000 bond. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the two men were related.

“We definitely want people to know that if anyone is hiding (Leonard) out, this will be the end result,” said Sgt. Regina Duckett, a Montgomery police spokeswoman.

Duckett said Leonard was still thought to be in the Montgomery area, where he apparently has lived. Police have issued three capital murder warrants, charging Leonard in the shooting deaths of Ed Christian, Ladarious Phillips and DeMario Pitts. Christian and Phillips were former Auburn University football players.

Three other men were injured in the shooting, and two of them, including current Auburn player Eric Mack, were treated and released. The condition of John Q. Robertson, another shooting victim who police said was “fighting for his life,” was not known. Hospital officials released a statement from his family declining to provide information about his condition.

The search for Leonard, meanwhile, included several law enforcement agencies. Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said Monday he spoke with Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson and offered assistance if needed.

Dawson, at a news conference Sunday, said his officers would not rest until Leonard is behind bars.

The FBI has offered $10,000 for information leading to Leonard’s arrest and conviction, said Special Agent Douglas H. Astralaga. The U.S. Marshals offered a reward of $5,000 for information.

Call 334-223-5400 or 334-501-3140 to report information to authorities.

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