Auburn shooting suspect Desmonte Leonard surrenders to authorities
The ongoing search since Saturday came to an end when Desmonte Leonard peacefully surrendered near 7:57 p.m at the Montgomery federal courthouse in Montgomery, under a heavy presence of U.S. Marshals and snipers rooted at key rooftop spots.
The Auburn City Police Department had spared no resources to locate Desmonte Leonard, and faced three disappointments in their search for the Auburn shooting suspect.
"It's been a trying case for all law enforcement involved," Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson said in a press conference.
After charging two men with providing misleading tips to the authorities, the police took a more productive approach by posting a $30,000 dollar reward for any information on Desmonte Leonard’s whereabouts. It wasn’t long after tips started pouring in and after validating two concrete tips the, the police decided on to move-in towards a Montgomery house on Monday afternoon. However, after nearly stripping the house apart and camping in the house for the rest of the day until early on Tuesday morning, the police confirmed that they failed to detain Desmonte Leonard. The police were fully armed for the search operation on the Montgomery house, and were loaded with tear gas, assault rifles and spy gear such that include thermal imaging. At one point in the 9-hour search, the police suspected a presence in the attic, but ruled it early next morning.
The Montgomery house resembled a scene of annihilation on Tuesday as the police scuffled outside, dragging pieces of debris into the street. However, the owner of the house has been guaranteed a full retribution by the authorities.
The city's public safety director Chris Murphy confirmed that the owner of the house will not be charged for harboring a suspect, since Desmonte Leonard had connections to the Montgomery house. The two men who earlier gave the authorities false tips in the process of search for Desmonte Leonard have already been charged. Police Chief Kevin Murphy indicated that the person who secretly drove Desmonte Leonard to the Montgomery house could also face arrest on similar terms.
The 22-year-old Desmonte Leonard reportedly surrendered after his family made contact with Montgomery defense attorney Susan James. After confirming with the U.S. Marshals that she and her son ( and investigator who works with her) will not be charged, Susan James drove 50 miles off Montgomery to get Desmonte Leonard from a predetermined pick-up point.
"He was very calm, very tired and very ready to get this over with and very respectful," told Susan James.
She said that during that journey Desmonte Leonard put the Saturday night’s events in such light so that "when the full story is told, it may sound different than the perception now."
Tommy Dawson finished his press conference on a sadder note adding, "In a case like this there is no relief because those boys aren't coming home tonight."