Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!
Crimson Tide Basketball Player Charged With Murder For Shooting Death Near University of Alabama Campus
Darius Miles, 21, is no longer a member of the basketball team or university after he was charged with the murder of Jamea Harris, according to WVUA.
A now former University of Alabama basketball player is one of two men charged with murder for the shooting of a 23-year-old woman in a heavily populated area just a mile from campus, according to the university-owned Tuscaloosa TV station, WVUA.
Darius Miles, 21, and Michael Lynn Davis, 20, were arrested and charged with capital murder in connection to the shooting death of Jamae Jonae Harris, 23, on Sunday, according to jail records reviewed by Oxygen.com.
Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama police departments responded to reports of a shooting behind the Houndstooth Bar along the Strip at the corner of Grace Street and University Boulevard around 2 a.m. Sunday, according to WVUA. Police said there was an argument between the victims and the suspects, allegedly including Miles, and shots were fired.
Following the incident, one of the victims drove down University Boulevard and found a university officer to help. University police told WVUA that Harris, the mother of a five-year-old son, was dead in the passenger seat. The driver told police his vehicle was shot into, and he shot back in self-defense, and may have hit a suspect.
Harris' mother, DeCarla Cotton, has since claimed that the gunfight broke out after one of the suspects hit on Harris while she and her boyfriend were having dinner with a cousin, who is a student at the University.
"He was advancing on her and she declined his attention. He refused to go away,” Cotton told CNN. “While they were attempting to leave, one gentleman walked up to the car and started shooting.”
Cotton added that Harris' boyfriend told her he had shot one of the suspects, who later sought treatment at a local hospital, thereby helping investigators connect him to the crime, according to CNN.
Police said two suspects, Miles and Davis — the latter is not affiliated with the University of Alabama, according to WVUA — were identified after speaking with witnesses and reviewing surveillance video. Police are not sharing who fired the gun, or who was hurt, according to ESPN, though they stated that the suspect sustained a non-life-threatening wound.
Miles was a student and member of the basketball team until Sunday, WVUA reported, when he was officially removed from the roster. A statement from Alabama Athletics said, “We were made aware of the recent charge against student-athlete Darius Miles and he is no longer a member of the Alabama men’s basketball team. Athletics, in conjunction with the university, is fully cooperating with the investigation.”
University of Alabama’s Men’s Basketball Coach Nate Oats said the team is keeping Harris’ loved ones in their thoughts and prayers.
“It’s a tragedy all around. Wish it hadn’t happened,” Oats said to WVUA. “We’re going to pull together as a team and be there for each other.”
Oats told WVUA he’s encouraging the team and staff to take advantage of mental health help available on campus. He said his team met Sunday night and there were “a lot of hugs,” according to ESPN.
The university said in a statement to Oxygen.com that Miles “has been removed from campus," adding in a statement: “The University of Alabama’s utmost priority is the safety and well-being of the campus community. We are grieved by the incident that occurred near campus last night and extend our deepest condolences to the victim’s friends and family.”
Family members of Miles and Davis were at the police station as the men were arrested Sunday. While Davis remained silent, Miles said to his family, “I love you more than you can imagine,” according to WVUA.
An attorney for Miles said he’s innocent. “Darius Miles and his family are heartbroken tonight over the death of Jamea Jonae Harris," the statement read, according to WVUA. "While Darius has been accused of being involved with this tragedy, he maintains his innocence and looks forward to his day in court.”
Miles was a junior reserve on the fourth-ranked Alabama basketball team and from Washington, D.C., according to ESPN. The team announced before Saturday’s game against LSU that he was out for the season with an ankle injury. Miles had participated in six games this season. The last time he played for the Crimson Tide, on Dec. 20, he scored two points in Alabama's 84-64 win over Jackson State.
A city councilman in Tuscaloosa said the deadly shooting is just one of a series of problems that have taken place in The Strip over the years.
“That’s the heart of the campus,” Lee Busby told Birmingham NBC station WVTM. “That campus is the economic engine driving the city. The development going on around there. Go count the 60 and 80 million dollar developments within 4 to 5 blocks of there. That’s just not going to go on.”
Busby told WVTM that the city is asking bar owners to play a bigger role controlling crowds at night. Unique bar is located across the street from where the deadly shooting happened early Sunday morning.
“If I see any kind of bad element, bad crowd, I close my bar early,” Unique owner Chris Coleman told WVTM. “Does it cost us revenue? Yes! Six times that were home game weekends on Saturdays I closed early because there were some unsavory characters wandering around that were out here.”
Miles and Davis have not posted bond, and are still in jail, according to the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office website. Oxygen.com has reached out to Tuscaloosa police, University of Alabama police, and the university and athletic department for comment, but did not immediately hear back.
Anyone who has any additional information is asked to call University Police at 205-348-5454 or Crime Stoppers at 205-752-7867(STOP).