Our hearts go out to the entire Auburn community after the shooting deaths of three young men late Saturday night, including former football players Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips.
Eric Mack, a sophomore offensive lineman, was also wounded. Auburn police said Mack has non-life threatening injuries.
The third fatality was Auburn resident Demario Pitts, and two others were wounded at University Heights apartments near campus. Police are still searching for the alleged shooter -- Desmonte Leonard of Montgomery, Ala.
According to police, the shootings stemmed from a fight that broke out at the apartments, and police said the only connection the Auburn players had was that they were the "victim of a brutal shooting."
Auburn police chief Tommy Dawson added, "I don't believe they were targeted. I believe it was a fight that went too far."
Phillips was a fullback for the Tigers and left the team in April. He was planning on transferring to Jacksonville State. Christian was an offensive linemen whose career was cut short by back problems. He was expected to finish his education at Auburn as a medical redshirt.
Now is not the time to delve into the specifics of this unspeakable tragedy. Three young men are dead, and a fourth is fighting for his life.
We mourn their loss and hope that the families can find a way to get through this.
Auburn is a tight-knit community, and I know there will be an outpouring of support for everybody involved. It's also a community that has shown its resiliency in the past.
All of us remotely connected to the SEC ache for what they're going through on the Plains right now.