After University of Alabama basketball player Darius Miles was charged with manslaughter in the death of his 23-year-old mother and fired from the team, the victim’s loved ones say he was killed when he fended off a man who was trying to flirt with him. He was shot dead.
The Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit said Miles, 21, and Michael Lynn Davis, 20, were arrested and charged in the shooting death of Jamia Joanna Harris near the university campus early Sunday.
Officials said Miles was the only person affiliated with the University of Alabama involved in the shooting. The university’s athletics department announced Sunday that he had been removed from the basketball team.
When police responded late Sunday around 1:45 a.m., they found Harris fatally shot while she was in a car less than a half-mile from campus, officials said.
Harris’s mother, DeCarla Cotton, told CNN that Harris and her boyfriend had driven from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa to visit her cousin, who is a student at the University of Alabama.
The mother said that Harris’ boyfriend told Cotton that the three of them were getting something to eat after a night out, when a man approached Harris and began groping her.
“He was making advances on her and she rejected his attention. She refused to leave,” Cotton told CNN. “As they were attempting to leave, a gentleman came up to the car and started shooting. Gave.”
Cotton said Harris’ boyfriend retaliated and hit one of the suspects. He said the suspect later went to a local hospital, which helped connect him to the shooting. Investigators have said that one of the suspects was hit by returning bullets and suffered a non-life-threatening wound.
Authorities have not clarified which suspect allegedly fired shots into the car or who was injured. The Violent Crimes Unit said both suspects are being held without bond.
Captain Jack Kennedy of the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit said the motive for the shooting appeared to be “a minor dispute that these guys had with the victim as they were on The Strip,” a hub of restaurants and businesses near the university’s campus. Is.
Cotton said of his daughter, “She was not a troublemaker.” “She was a hardworking mother who got up every day to take care of her son,” said Cotton.
The mother told that Harris’s 5-year-old son was living with Cotton. “I haven’t found the words to explain it yet,” she said.
Miles’ attorneys said in a statement obtained by CNN affiliate WBRC that Miles and his family are “heartbroken” over Harris’ death, but “he maintains his innocence and looks forward to his day in court.”
Miles, who is from Washington, D.C., is a junior at the university, according to an archived version of the men’s basketball team roster. He was in the middle of playing his third season as a forward for the Alabama Crimson Tide before he was released from the team on Sunday, the archived page shows.
University of Alabama men’s basketball head coach Nate Oates told a news conference Monday that the weekend’s events “really are a tragedy.”
“I want to begin today by expressing my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jamie Joanna Harris, a young woman, daughter and mother who was taken too soon by a senseless act,” he said at the conference’s opening. was turned away.”
Oates said the team gathered Sunday night to talk about the shooting and the arrest of their partner.
“We’re continuing to support each other as we process this and balance school and basketball,” he said.
Oates said the team will continue to practice in preparation for Tuesday’s game against Vanderbilt University.
Oates said, “I wish we didn’t have to address this situation, but we have to work together as a team at this point and … really be there for each other.” On campus and within the athletics department.
The university has said it is cooperating with the investigation with the athletics department.