COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The University of Alabama said Wednesday that leading scorer Brandon Miller remains an “active member” of the No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide and is not considered a suspect in a fatal shooting that took place near campus last month. An attorney for the player said his client never handled the gun officials say was involved in the shooting.
“Based on all the information that we have received, Brandon Miller is not considered a suspect in this case, only a cooperative witness,” the university said in a statement released just hours before Alabama was to play at South Carolina. “Today’s statement from Brandon’s lawyer adds additional context that the University considered as part of its review of the facts. Based on all the facts that we have gathered, Brandon remains an active member of the team”
Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne told ESPN’s College GameDay podcast that Miller traveled with the team to South Carolina, went through walk-through and was expected to play.
Miller was on the court about 80 minutes before tipoff, warming up with teammates before fans were allowed in the building. Once the doors opened, students filled several areas around the court and zeroed in on Miller, with a couple yelling, “Lock him up!”
Miller didn’t react, just continued his pregame drills.
Earlier Wednesday, Miller’s attorney said his client never handled the gun owned by ex-Alabama player Darius Miles. Miles is accused of providing his gun to Michael Davis, who fired it and killed Jamea Harris, prosecutors say.
“Brandon never touched the gun, was not involved in its exchange to Mr. Davis in any way, and never knew that illegal activity involving the gun would occur,” Miller’s lawyer, Jim Standridge, said in a statement.
Miller’s alleged involvement in the death of the 23-year-old Harris was detailed Tuesday at a preliminary hearing for Miles and Davis, both facing capital murder charges in Harris’ death. An investigator, Brandon Culpepper, testified that Miles texted Miller to bring him his handgun.
Alabama coach Nate Oats has said the team was aware Miller allegedly brought the gun to Miles.
Standridge said in the statement that Miles asked Miller for a ride to a club. Standridge said Miles’ brought his “legal handgun and left it in the backseat of Brandon’s vehicle. Brandon never saw the handgun nor handled it.”
Miles later texted Miller to bring him the gun. Miller never got out of his vehicle, was not part of the exchange with Davis and did not interact with anyone in Harris’ party, according to Standridge.
Miles quickly drove off when gunfire took place, Standridge said. When Miles was told someone was hurt and police wanted to speak to him, “he has fully cooperated with law enforcement’s investigation,” Standridge said.
Standridge said the events of the shooting were captured on video. “There is no dispute about Brandon’s activities during this evening,” Standridge said.
Byrne, on the ESPN podcast, said the school learned new information in the case this week that it used to make its decision to let Miller play. He said Oats did not have all facts when he first addressed the media — Oats described Miller’s situation as “Wrong spot at the wrong time” — and didn’t handle things in the best way.
“We’ve addressed that with him,” Byrne said.
Miller is a 6-foot-9 forward who leads the Crimson Tide with 18.7 points and eight rebounds a game this season and is considered a possible lottery pick in June’s NBA draft.
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