SAN DIEGO — The San Diego State University’s Aztecs will take on the University of Alabama's Crimson Tide in Friday’s Sweet 16 of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
Alabama’s top-ranked freshman, Brandon Miller, is involved in a high-profile murder case that resulted in a fellow teammate being charged.
Don't be surprised if you hear boos or chants of "lock him up" from the crowd during the game in Louisville, Kentucky, which begins at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
The negativity is aimed at Miller, #24 of the Crimson Tide, for his alleged involvement in a deadly shooting incident two months ago.
Police say the gun used in the murder was brought to the shooting scene by Miller inside his car.
Miller has not been charged with any crime and is treated as a witness.
Earlier this month, Miller spoke publicly about the incident for the first time.
“I never lose sight of a family that has lost one of their loved ones that night. This whole situation is heartbreaking,” Miller said during a news conference on March 8.
The shooting happened on January 15 in Tuscaloosa near the University of Alabama in a party zone known as The Strip.
Two suspects are now in jail on murder charges, the alleged gunman, Michael Davis, who is not affiliated with the university, and a former Alabama player, Darius Miles, accused of providing the gun to the shooter.
Alabama head coach Nate Oats said his decision to play Miller is based on the available facts.
“The whole team understands how tragic and serious this situation we're dealing with is. I think they're doing a great job. Just understanding that we're still focused on the task at hand while still understanding how tragic and serious the situation is,” Oats said on February 24.
The victim, Jamea Harris, age 23 and the mother of a 5-year-old son, was shot inside a jeep during an exchange of gunfire between Davis and the victim's boyfriend in the driver's seat, police said.
Harris’s mother, DeCarla Heard, spoke to reporters outside court in February.
“This was premeditated. They thought this whole thing out. They don't deserve a plea deal. They deserve to go to jail for the rest of their lives. My daughter is not here anymore,” Heard said.
Miller’s attorney said his client never handled the murder weapon, which was allegedly retrieved from the back seat of Miller’s car by his former teammate, Miles, and later allegedly handed off to the accused gunman.
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