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SWAT team sent in home to hunt for Auburn suspect

June 12, 2012 • National News


This photo provided by Montgomery Police Department shows Gabriel Thomas, who is charged with hindering prosecution for allegedly providing police with false information about Desmonte Leonard. Leonard is accused in a shooting that killed three people and wounded three others in Auburn. Police said the search for Leonard is concentrating in Montgomery. (AP Photo/Montgomery Police Department)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Authorities searching for a man charged with fatally shooting three people near Auburn University swarmed a house Monday where they believe he’s hiding, firing tear gas and sending a tactical team on cautious forays inside.

The tactical team had searched the lower portions of the house and was making deliberate moves into the attic where suspect Desmonte Leonard was believed to be hiding, said Montgomery Public Safety Director Chris Murphy. He declined to give a timetable for them to bring someone out.

“We are having to slowly put our people up there and do an inch-by-inch search,” he said during a briefing several hours after police surrounded the house.

Police had hoped to flush out the person with tear gas and verbal commands, but sent in the tactical team after getting no response. They’ve used thermal imaging and other technology to narrow down what part of the attic he’s in. The attic is cramped, complicating investigators’ efforts.

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