Alabama coach addresses basketball player’s arrest on murder charge

Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats spoke to reporters one day after Crimson Tide player Darius Hairston Miles, 21, from Washington, D.C., was one of two suspects arrested on a charge of capital murder.

Oats started his news conference offering condolences to the family and friends of the victim, Jamea Jonae Harris, the 23-year-old woman who was shot to death.

‘I just want to start today by offering our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jamea Jonae Harris,’ Oats said Monday. ‘A young woman, daughter and mother who was taken way too soon from a senseless act. This is an incredibly sad situation. Our hearts go out to her loved ones. Keeping them in our thoughts and prayers as they continue to grieve.’

Miles has been jailed without bond, according to the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit. Miles was dismissed from the team Sunday.

Oats said the staff brought the team together Sunday night.

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‘Thought it was important we are all here to support one another through this situation,’ Oats said.

Oats said in his opening statement there was nothing he could add that hadn’t already been shared about the investigation because it is still pending.

‘You may have some questions, but there’s nothing I can comment on relative to Darius’ situation and the investigation,’ Oats said.

Another suspect, Michael Lynn Davis, 20, from Charles County, Maryland, also faces a capital murder charge and has also been jailed without bond. An email from the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit states that Davis is not affiliated with the university.

Oats said there were a lot of hugs last night when the team met and everyone is aware of the services the university offers to help the team cope with this situation.

What was Oats’ message to his players?

“It’s really a tragedy all around, especially for Jamea and her family,’ Oats said. ‘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 was asked if the incident was isolated to Miles or if any other players were involved.

‘Our entire remaining team is traveling to Nashville and will be available to play in the game tomorrow,’ Oats said.

Oats said he got a call about the shooting Sunday morning. He immediately called Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne. Oats said the two of them started putting their plan in place on how to handle the situation.

The shooting was determined to have occurred in the 400 block of Grace Street off University Boulevard and appears to be the result of a minor argument between the victims and suspects, according to the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit.

Officers with the Tuscaloosa Police Department and the University of Alabama Police Department were called to the scene of a reported shooting at around 1:45 a.m. near the Walk of Champions at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The responding officers made contact with the driver of a vehicle who had stopped outside the stadium for help upon seeing a University of Alabama police vehicle.

Capt. Jack Kennedy, commander of the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit, didn’t specify Sunday who investigators believe pulled the trigger, but he did say both suspects are being charged because their actions led to Harris’ death.

The driver of the vehicle, not Harris, told officers the vehicle had been shot into and he had fired back in self-defense and may have struck one of the assailants.

After speaking with witnesses and viewing video surveillance, Miles and Davis were developed as suspects, according to investigators.

Miles had only played in six games this season, missing time because of both an ankle injury and what Oats labeled ‘personal reasons’ after the Mississippi State game. Miles was ruled out for the season Saturday because of an ankle injury.

‘He actually went back home to D.C. to deal with the personal matter that he was gone a couple weeks with,’ Oats said. ‘He had the ankle injury that was kind of ongoing. He’s had multiple issues. They were all completely unrelated to this incident Sunday morning.’

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