Auburn Player Shot and Killed. Same Apt Complex Player was Killed 3 Years Ago

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AUBURN, Alabama -- Auburn freshman football player Jakell Mitchell was shot and killed early Sunday morning at an apartment complex near the Auburn University campus.

UPDATE (2:03 p.m.): Auburn police have arrested Markale Hart, 22, in the shooting death of Mitchell.

Police responded to a call from the Tiger Lodge apartment complex at 12:25 a.m., where Mitchell suffered a fatal injury, Auburn police Capt. Will Mathews told Officers made contact with a vehicle leaving the area shortly after 12:25 a.m., according to police. Mitchell, 18, was a passenger in the vehicle and was suffering from gunshot wounds at the time. He was transported to East Alabama Medical Center by ambulance with multiple gunshot wounds and was later pronounced dead, according to the Lee County Coroner's Office.
The death is being treated as a homicide and an autopsy will be performed in Montgomery. The Auburn Police Department and Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences conducted an on-scene investigation through the morning and cleared the scene shortly after 9 a.m.

The shooting occurred at the same apartment complex where two former Auburn players died in a shooting in June of 2012. A jury determined Desmonte Leonard killed three people, including former Auburn players Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips, at the party during a trial in October. He was convicted of capital murder, attempted murder and assault and will be sentenced Jan. 20.

Two residents told they heard at least six gunshots in the parking lot, where dozens of evidence markers littered the asphalt as police conducted their investigation Sunday morning. Stray bullets hit at least three vehicles, and one bullet hit the wall of an adjacent residence.

A Cadillac's rear passenger window was shattered and a bullet hole could be seen at the top of the car door. The car was one of three that suffered damage, but it was the only vehicle towed by police for further analysis. Police did not confirm whether it was the car Mitchell was found inside when they arrived on the scene.

When shots were fired, people scattered from a party held in the third-floor apartment of the No. 13 building in the center of the complex, according to residents. 

"I heard people running down the stairs and then lights everywhere," said George Morgan, 38, who lives on the first floor of the building. "It was like cockroaches when the lights come on."

A resident living in the unit below the third-story apartment said get-togethers were rowdy in recent weeks. The resident said they feared for their life at times and recently asked to be released from a lease at the complex.

Mitchell's vehicle, a red Dodge Challenger, was not involved in the shooting and was towed after police cleared the scene.

Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs and coach Gus Malzahn released statements expressing their grief Sunday. Backup quarterback Jeremy Johnson visited the scene shortly after 10 a.m. to remember Mitchell. He said he was not at the Tiger Lodge apartment complex during the shooting.

"I couldn't believe it," Johnson told the Associated Press. "Jakell was a real good kid."

Tiger Lodge management released a statement via its Facebook page Sunday afternoon:

"We are cooperating fully with police as they investigate this matter. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jakell Mitchell's family, friends and the entire Auburn University community. When tragedies such as this occur, everyone is affected, and we all mourn his loss."

Police are asking for witnesses and those with tips to contact the Auburn police detective section at 334-501-3140. Anonymous tips can be made to the Auburn Police Department at 334-246-1391.