'A senseless act': Darius Miles' coach speaks out after murder charges announced against Alabama forward
TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA: Alabama basketball player Darius Miles, 21, and Michael Lynn Davis, 20, have been charged with capital murder in connection with a shooting near campus. Jamea Harris, 23, of the Birmingham area, was shot dead on January 15, leaving behind a five-year-old son. Following the charges, Miles’ bio has been deleted from the Alabama University athletic department’s website. The university also released a statement saying its “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 family and friends.” Offering his condolences, Alabama coach Nate Oats called the incident "a senseless act."
According to Captain Jack Kennedy of Tuscaloosa Police, the incident occurred on Sunday morning, January 15. “At this time, it appears that the only motive was a minor altercation that these individuals had with the victim as they were out on The Strip,” Kennedy said in a news conference, as reported by The Guardian. Kennedy said the driver of another vehicle - in which Harris was a passenger - came to campus police near Bryant-Denny Stadium at about 1.45 am. They said someone shot into the vehicle and he had to fire back. One of the suspects was taken to a local hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Kennedy said neither the driver of the other vehicle nor Harris or Davis is affiliated with the university.
Nate Oats, the basketball coach at Alabama, talked to the media after murder charges were announced against Miles. "I just want to start by offering condolences to the family and friends of Jamea Jonae Harris, the young woman, daughter, mother who was taken away too soon from a senseless act," Oats said.
"This is an incredibly sad situation. Our hearts go out to her loved ones. We are keeping them in our thoughts and prayers as they continue to grieve," he added.
Oats clarified that he cannot comment on the situation as it is a pending investigation. "We came together last night and talked, thought it was important that we were all here and around to support one another through this situation, with this being a pending investigation, there's nothing I can add that hasn't already been shared," he said. "There is nothing I can comment on relative to Darius' situation in the investigation."
Calling it an unimaginable loss, Oats added, "It's really a tragedy all around, especially for Jamea and her family."
"Wish we weren't having to address this situation, but we've got to pull together as a team at this point and really be there for each other," Oats further noted. “This is a really difficult situation, and we’ll continue to support each other as we process this and balance school and basketball, to that end, we regrouped this morning to maintain our routine and some structure in the midst of this situation and we’ll practice before heading up to Nashville for the Vanderbilt game."
Oats also revealed Miles had been dealing with multiple issues but none of them was connected to the shooting. "He actually went back to home to DC to deal with the personal matter that he was out a couple of weeks with and he had the ankle injury, it was kind of ongoing, so I mean he's had multiple issues, they were all completely unrelated to this incident."
Oats told the reporters how he learned about the situation, "I got a call Sunday morning, alerting me to what was going on." He also claimed that he has spoken to Miles' mother numerous times.