Tide AD refutes story placing walk-on at shooting

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne refuted a New York Times report placing men’s basketball walk-on Kai Spears at the scene of a shooting in January, saying it was “inaccurate” and “untrue.”

Byrne made his remarks in a statement that was issued during halftime of the Crimson Tide’s game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Thursday.

Former Alabama basketball player Darius Miles was indicted last week on capital murder charges for supplying his friend Michael Davis with the gun that was used to kill 23-year-old Jamea Harris on Jan. 15.

During a court hearing last month, a police officer testified that Miles texted Alabama star forward Brandon Miller, asking him to bring Miles’ gun in the early-morning hours of the shooting.

Fellow teammate Jaden Bradley was also allegedly in the area during the shooting.

Neither Miller nor Bradley has been accused of a crime.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that a fourth Alabama player who had not been named, Spears, was in the car with Miller at the scene of the crime.

Spears and his father, Marshall athletic director Christian Spears, released statements refuting the report. Christian Spears called the New York Times story “irresponsible and demonstrably false.” He added, “We are exploring all legal options at this time.”

Alabama initially released an unattributed statement Wednesday night saying, “Based upon the information we have there were no current student-athletes present at the scene other than Brandon Miller and Jaden Bradley, who are both fully cooperating witnesses.”

Byrne followed Thursday with a lengthy statement of his own.

“First and foremost, we never lose sight of the victim in this situation,” Byrne said in his statement. “It is a heartbreaking situation, and we continue to extend our deepest sympathies.

“From day one, we have been firm in our commitment to fully support and cooperate with law enforcement as they investigate this tragedy. We cannot interfere with law enforcement’s investigation. We also cannot disclose law enforcement’s information.”

Byrne’s statement continued: “Last night, an inaccurate report was published about Kai Spears, one of our student-athletes, being present at the time of the incident. This is untrue. As law enforcement previously shared, Brandon Miller and Jaden Bradley were present. Both are fully cooperating witnesses. Neither have been charged with any offense nor did they violate University policy.

“Some inaccurate narratives have been reported about the involvement of Alabama student-athletes that display an unfortunate disregard of the facts. We ask all to exercise careful due diligence before reporting on this sensitive situation.

“As previously mentioned, it is not our role to share details about a pending legal matter. We will rely on law enforcement to disclose information if and when they deem it appropriate as we continue to fully support their investigation. Questions about the incident should be directed to them. Nevertheless, we felt like we had to address the inaccurate report from last evening.”

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