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Girlfriend: Jakell Mitchell in argument before shooting

Kim Chandler Associated Press

AUBURN, Ala. – The girlfriend of a slain Auburn football player said he was arguing with a man at a party when a third man pulled a handgun and opened fire.

Redshirted freshman football player Jakell Lenard Mitchell, 18, died after being shot in the chest early Sunday morning at an off-campus apartment complex. It was the same apartment complex where two former football players and a third man were shot to death outside a 2012 pool party.

Auburn police arrested 22-year-old Markale Deandra Hart of Camp Hill, Alabama, on murder charges on Sunday afternoon. Hart was being held at the Lee County Jail on $150,000 bond. Police have not released a motive for the crime, but said they don’t expect additional arrests.

Mitchell’s girlfriend, Ayanna Hughuley, 17, said Mitchell was arguing with a man in the parking lot, when a third man pulled a handgun.

“He had his gun like this and was looking at Jakell,” Ayanna Hughuley, 17, said of the suspect while holding her hand down at her waistband.

“He just started shooting. Jakell fell on the ground and he tried to get back up and run, and then he fell again. He started shooting at Jakell again while Jakell was on the ground,” Hughuley said.

She said she didn’t know what started the disagreement and doesn’t think that Mitchell knew Hart.

Auburn Police Capt. Will Mathews said police answered a call about 12:25 a.m. Sunday of shots fired at the Tiger Lodge apartment complex, a few miles from the Auburn campus. He said Mitchell was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Mitchell lived in an on-campus dormitory, but had gone to a party at the apartment complex, said his father, Mario Mitchell. Students had just finished final exams for the semester.

Mitchell redshirted this season for the Auburn Tigers out of nearby Opelika High School. Able to play both back and tight end, he was expected to contend for a starting spot next season. Mitchell missed his senior season at Opelika as he recovered from an ACL injury. He had rushed for 392 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2013 as a high school junior.

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