Darius Miles. After a University of Alabama basketball player is accused of killing a 23-year-old woman, her mother is opening up about what led up to the fatal shooting.


After University of Alabama basketball player Darius Miles was charged with manslaughter in the death of his 23-year-old mother and kicked from the team, relatives of the victim say he was shot and killed when he rejected a man who tried to flirt with him.

Miles, 21, and Michael Lynn Davis, 20, were arrested and charged with capital murder in the early Sunday morning shooting death of Jamea Jonah Harris near the university’s campus, the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit said.

Miles was the only person associated with the University of Alabama involved in the shooting, authorities said. The university’s athletics department announced Sunday that he had been dismissed from the basketball team.

When police responded to the shooting around 1:45 a.m. Sunday, they found that Harris had been fatally shot while he was in a car about a half-mile from the campus, authorities said.

Harris and a friend had driven from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa to visit her cousin, who is a student at the University of Alabama, Harris’ mother, DeCarla Cotton, told CNN.

Harris’ friend told Cotton the three of them were getting something to eat after a night out when a man approached Harris and began flirting with her, the mother said.

“He was making advances on her and she refused his attention. He refused to leave,” Cotton told CNN. “While they were trying to leave, a gentleman approached the car and started shooting.”

Harris’ friend returned fire, hitting one of the suspects, Cotton said. The suspect later went to a local hospital, which helped link him to the shooting, he added. Investigators said one of the suspects was injured in the return fire, with non-life-threatening injuries.

Authorities have not said which suspect allegedly fired shots into the vehicle or who was injured. Both suspects are being held without bond, the Violent Crimes Unit said.

Capt. Jack Kennedy of the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit said the motive for the shooting appeared to be “a small dispute that these individuals had with the victim while they were out on The Strip,” which is a strip of restaurants near the university’s campus and is the center of businesses.

“She wasn’t messy,” Cotton says of her daughter. “She was a hardworking mother who got up every day to take care of her son,” Cotton said.

Harris’ 5-year-old son is staying with Cotton, his mother said. “I still haven’t found the words to explain it to him,” she said.

Miles’ attorneys said in a statement obtained by CNN affiliate WBRC that Miles and his family are “heartbroken” by Harris’ death, but “he maintains his innocence and looks forward to his day in court.”

Miles, who is from Washington, is a junior on the varsity, according to the archived version of the men’s basketball team roster. He was in his third season as a forward for the Alabama Crimson Tide before being cut from the team on Sunday, the archived page shows.

University of Alabama men’s basketball head coach Nate Oates said at a news conference Monday that the weekend’s events were “truly a tragedy around the world.”

“I just want to start today by expressing our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jamea Jonah Harris, a young woman, daughter and mother who was taken far too soon by a senseless act,” he said at the opening of the conference.

The team met Sunday night to talk about their teammate’s shooting and arrest, Oates said.

Former University of Alabama running back Darius Miles in action against Jacksonville State on December 18, 2021.

“We continue to support each other as we work it out and balance school and basketball,” he said.

The team will continue to practice in preparation for Tuesday’s game against Vanderbilt University, Oates said.

“I wish we didn’t have to deal with this situation, but we have to come together as a team right now and … really be there for each other,” Oates said, adding that players are aware of additional support services available. on campus and in the athletics department.

The university said it is cooperating with the investigation, along with the athletics department.


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