Police Arrest 23-Year-Old Negro Suspect in Auburn Student’s Murder

Burke Murder

AUBURN, Ala. (FOX 5) – Phenix City Police arrested Courtney Lockhart, 23, Friday during a traffic stop.  He is charged with the murder of Auburn University student Lauren Burk.

He was arrested after high-speed chase and may be linked to armed robberies in Phenix City, Alabama and Columbus, Georgia.

Lockhart is charged with three counts of capital murder: One count of capital murder with robbery, one count of capital murder with kidnapping, and one count of capital murder with attempted rape.

Auburn Assistant Police Chief Tommy Dawson said that a suspect prosecuted for capital murder can face the death penalty.

Dawson also said there was no indication that Lockhart and Burk knew each other.

As investigators pursued leads in Burk’s death , her family  asked for privacy.

The family issued a written statement Friday through family friend Kathy Singleton in Marietta, Georgia.

The statement expressed gratitude for what it called “all the kindness and prayers expressed during this tragedy.” The statement says the family asks for privacy to grieve for their loss and to celebrate Lauren’s life.

The family said a fund has been established to help find their daughter’s killer. It says anyone interested may contact any Wachovia Bank office and make a contribution to the “Lauren Burk Memorial Fund.”

In a press conference held Friday afternoon, Auburn Assistant Police Chief Thomas Dawson said that Lauren Burk was not sexually assaulted.

Dawson also said that a gas can was found in downtown Auburn and that it was examined for DNA evidence.

Investigators formed a 30 member task force as many Auburn students said they feared for their safety following Burk’s death.

Related Story: Auburn Campus on Alert After Freshman Shot, Killed

Students walked to classes on Auburn’s campus Thursday, waiting anxiously for word of an arrest in the case and police have pleaded for tips about Burk’s murder.

“We have several leads we are investigating and some strong leads,” said Assistant Chief Tommy Dawson of the Auburn Police Department.

Burk, an 18-year-old freshman at Auburn from Cobb County, was found suffering from a gunshot wound Tuesday night about five miles from campus.  Burk’s car was later discovered engulfed in flames on campus.  Burk later died from her injuries.

Within hours of the murder, university officials tried to calm fears among students.  Investigators said it didn’t appear that other students were in danger, but some students didn’t agree.

“I am still worried and I think Auburn is doing a good job of trying to find out what’s going on, but it’s scary,’ said student Addy Felix.

Related Link: Auburn University Website

Auburn’s police chief said the department interviewed hundreds of people over the last two days, but no one stood out as a person of interest.

When asked if there could be any connection between Burk’s death and the death of a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student, Dawson responded, “I don’t have anything to believe that is related, but however, I have had my investigators get in touch with authorities there just to cover that avenue.”

Related Story: UNC Campus Stunned at Shooting Death of Student Body President

Friends of Burk’s said they didn’t believe she knew her killer.  “I’m definitely going to be looking over my shoulder for a couple of weeks or until I know the guy has been caught,” said friend Nathan Abbott.

  1. chrisperry
    March 9, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Thats what happens when blacks attack.

  2. jabowski
    March 10, 2008 at 3:44 am

    Contrary to the police department’s assertion, race did play a role in this murder: According to Department of Justice statistics, in 2005 one in 34,581 blacks killed a white; one in 506,070 whites killed a black.
    Take a look at the black on white murders you’ll find on the internet. That’s where you have to go to find information because the news media refuses to discuss this reality.
    The media is turning this into another “campus” killing. Say what? This man assaulted one person – with intent and malice. Please don’t waste Lauren’s loss on misguided lies. Cover the truth. We all know what would happen if the races were reversed. The students owe Lauren this dignity: raise your voices in oppostion to another “white wash”. This murderer has lived in an environment burdened by hatred for whites. All he did was act-out on that hate. Oh, by the way, the number of black on white murders has skyrocketed since 2005. Silence kills.

  3. Lyn
    March 10, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Another black man with a gun. Another unarmed white woman. Another death.

    Does nobody else see what’s going on? The real minority is the Whites who realize what’s happening.

    When I first heard about the arrest of this suspect I could not find a photo of him. The news articles mentioned his name but not his race. I was curious as to what kind of scumbag would shoot to death such a pretty young woman. I spent an hour online looking for photos of the suspect. Finally I found one – he’s black of course.

    You know damn well if a White man had killed a young black woman his photo instantly would be on every newspost online.

  4. Thom Sharpe
    March 11, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    The numbers are so one sided when it comes to race crimes and we NEVER talk about it but we listen to the same old stories about a hundred years ago and this goes on and on NOW. People must write letters and call shows and stop being afraid to talk about the real truth…demand photos and motives and stop letting lies crowd out the truth…these are beautiful well behaved girls and look at the pictures of the scum that killed them Hey Mrs Obama this is what makes me ashamed of our Country!!!

  5. disgusted2
    March 13, 2008 at 1:33 am

    Excerise your 2nd amendment right, Protect yourself from the animals that prey on law abiding citizens. Unfortunately, you have to depend on your own survival skills.
    Do not ever think “it cannot happen to you”.
    You have a responsibility to yourself, and law abiding citizens around you.
    There is a lot of hate towards those of us that are civilized, peace loving indivuals.
    Crime has skyrocketed out of control. I used to look over my shoulder, always aware of my surroundings. And feel vulnerable. Now I excerise my right to bear arms.
    I did not want to resort to that, I was forced to.
    If just one in ten law abiding citizens would train and acquire a legal firearm, there would be reluctance to commit an act of violence by the very animals that “all” carry illegal weapons.
    Illegal weapons are here to stay, like it or not.
    So why be left defenseless?
    You, as a law abiding individual have earned the right to protect yourself.
    If only criminals are armed, then we are defenseless.
    I carry a gun, and I train and target shoot.
    And if I ever find myself or another innocent person in grave danger, I will excersize my right to defend myself and others.
    I hope I will never have to resort to deadly force.
    But, it can happen to you or me or someone you care about.
    The vast majority of guns are in the hands of sick animals.
    We are the targets of these sick depraved low lives.
    You! the pretty co-ed, You! the guy with the nice car. You! the elderly woman.
    Be careful, be on guard, be prepared. if I am near you I will watch your back.
    God bless. Jay

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