Friday, December 13 2013 2:27 PM EST2013-12-13 19:27:18 GMT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
Montgomery officials wrapped up a press conference downtown shortly before noon - the resounding message - authorities did nothing wrong, and if given the chance, they'd do it again.
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange started off the conference by stating he wanted to "circle up the wagons" with regards to information going around about what happened at the house in East Montgomery.
"What you saw last night is not the normal response to an everyday situation," explained Strange. "There are probably a lot of people this morning that are second guessing what went on last night."
To those second-guessers, Strange wanted to make clear that law enforcement acted appropriately.
He explained that SomerHill, the neighborhood in question, had been previously identified as an area that Desmonte Leonard could be located. A call came in to the U.S. Marshals tip line that someone had dropped Leonard off at that address. Shortly after that tip a 9-1-1 call was placed to MPD from the homeowner. She stated that she had just gotten home from work to find a person matching Leonard's description sitting on her couch. She immediately left the home and dialed police from her car.
Strange said based on those tips it was decided to proceed with law enforcement response.
"If the same set of circumstances happen tonight, either here or in Auburn, we'll do it again," affirmed Strange. "Everybody can criticize or complain if they want to, but we've told you why we took the actions we did."
Montgomery Police Chief Kevin Murphy added that ultimately, any decisions made regarding last night's efforts fall on him.
"Steps were taken to keep people safe while we were working to apprehend a very dangerous individual," said Chief Murphy. "What measure, what value, what costs are we going to place on the safety of our citizens?"
Chief Murphy added, "We did everything right. Obviously we didn't take Mr. Leonard into custody last night...but we will."
Authorities explained that while the assets on scene Monday night were extensive, there were other assets in place in tandem at other locations within the City of Montgomery being used for the search of Leonard.
Police emphasized that there are leads being pursued today that are believed to be credible. At least one person, if not two people, have attempted to provide misinformation to law enforcement. The person who dropped Leonard off at the house has been identified and is being sought for questions - evidence shows this person knew Leonard was a fugitive.
Montgomery DPS Director Col. Kevin Murphy told media that there is a connection with the home and Desmonte Leonard, but not the homeowner. Authorities would not elaborate more except to say that there was a 15 to 20 minute gap between the 9-1-1 call and when law enforcement converged on the scene. They believe that Leonard was at the home yesterday and was somehow able to escape before law enforcement arrived.
"It's hard to know when he left in relation to when law enforcement got there," said Mayor Strange. "But it was very close."