Life Changes in Split Seconds

Just like that. Decisions are made that can’t be taken back.
Just like that. A life is changed.
Just like that. Families are forever changed.

Over the weekend, several Auburn students and Auburn residents were murdered and injured at their apartment complex. As of right this minute, there are three dead, one fighting for his life and two others with non-life-threatening injuries.

(Stories about each victim here.)

I’m not here to write about the actual events of the night because, well, I don’t have all the facts and can’t.

But there are things that I know.

I know that this isn’t about football teams or championships. This is about young people whose lives have been affected in ways we can’t imagine.

I know that *just like that* three families became bearers of bigger holes in their lives than any bullet could inflict. Their Thanksgiving tables will forever have an empty seat. Their hearts will never heal.

I know that *just like that* three other young men with bright futures became victims of a violent crime that will alter the way they go through life. Maybe they will be faced with depression, PTSD and physical impairments from the injuries.

I know that *just like that* people who witnessed any or all of the shooting are now secondary victims of a crime. They are the victims that will be forgotten. They will be the ones who, as “survivors,” will carry unspoken guilt with them about why and how it was the others and not them.

No, I’ve never been in any of their particular brand of shoes. So who am I to write any of this?

I’m a card-carrying member of the Auburn Family and of the club of parents who have buried a child. I’ve faced PTSD head-on and in my work with Band Back Together, I’ve heard from many who have been witnesses to crimes and who carry that heavy burden of survivor’s guilt with them.

My heart hurts and I can’t shake the feelings of hurt and sadness I feel for these families and young people. I know many others who feel the same way.

As far as the Auburn Family is concerned, we may be scarred, sad and heartbroken over this horrible tragedy, but we will NEVER be broken. We carry a spirit that is not afraid.


 Side note that IS related to the case: The gunman, Desmonte Demontez Leonard, is still being sought. For information on him and how to report a tip, see this article .


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  1. I have no words for this…

    ..or, as a mother of a college student, this saddens and sickens me on every level.

    Those poor families. I can’t imagine.

    • Yes, it saddens me on that level, too. The shooter was not a student and this was off campus about 2 miles. That doesn’t change it, but even though Auburn has had their fair share of crime, they’ve never had anything of this magnitude. This is just… ugh. Just so hard.

  2. so sad, how a senseless act of violence has such long-lasting effects that go un-remembered. my heart goes out to ALL those affected.
    Cindy recently posted..So, I’m a college graduate. Now what?My Profile

  3. I know. So sad. I hate when things like this happen and it’s that much worse when it happens in a town I love. I feel so bad for the friends that were there that night too. I hope they catch that monster. War Eagle!

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