Students and parents have joined in mourning the sudden death of a popular high school basketball coach earlier this week in Monroe, North Carolina. They tenderly recalled his uplifting motto “all love, no fear”, “the encouragement and motivation” he gave to the students of his school and his smile that “will forever be engraved in our hearts”.
But two days later, the local sheriff dropped a bombshell: Teacher Barney Harris nc was dead as he allegedly tried to rob a Mexican drug cartel.
Harris, who taught Spanish at Union Academy Charter School and was the boys’ head basketball coach, was found dead last week in a mobile home owned by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, widely regarded as Mexico’s most powerful and ruthless drug cartel. Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson announced at a press conference on Wednesday.
Harris, 40, looked like he was ready to fight. He was found in the hideout wearing a bulletproof vest, gloves and a face mask, the sheriff said. He had been shot several times.
“It was almost like an old gun battle in the west,” the sheriff said, adding that three neighboring houses were riddled with bullets.
Harris had gone to the trailer with his brother-in-law, Steven Alexander Stewart Jr., in order to rob a cartel member named Alonso Beltran Lara, according to the sheriff. The attempted attack was not meant to be a one-off, the sheriff said: Harris and Stewart are said to have followed the cartel’s movements across North Carolina to locate the hidden homes in hopes of robbing them.
“The I-85 and I-40 corridors have really made Alamance County a great place to drop off their medications,” the sheriff said of the cartel’s growing presence in the area.
The flight did not go as planned. When police discovered the gruesome scene after reports of gunfire in the mobile home, they found the body of Harris as well as that of Lara, the cartel member the two allegedly plotted to steal. Lara’s hands and feet were tied and he was shot “like an execution,” the sheriff said, though he was still clinging to life when police arrived. Officers took him to a nearby hospital, where he died. MPs have not disclosed who they believe shot Lara, and the investigation is ongoing.
“The trailer looked like it had been ransacked,” the sheriff said. “They were looking for money or drugs, or both,” he said. MPs found a bag containing 1.2 kilograms of cocaine and about $ 7,000 in cash near Lara’s body.
Stewart, who apparently fled after the shooting, was found at his home with “crime scene related items” and charged with first degree burglary and first degree murder, police said. He is being held without ties.
News of the violent circumstances surrounding Harris’ death rocked Monroe, where the Union Academy issued a statement two days earlier calling on students to wear school colors to celebrate Harris. The principals congratulated him by saying: “[Harris’] The motto “All Love … No Fear” will forever be a part of who we are as a school. Love each other and live each day to the fullest. ”
On Wednesday, after the sheriff suggested the beloved basketball coach was viewed as a violent criminal, the school released another statement saying it was “shocked and devastated to hear the information. “.
Harris, who leaves behind a wife and three children, began working at Union Academy in July 2017. Parents of school children were quoted in local media earlier this week about the coach. of basketball.
“We love the family. My husband went to college with Coach Harris. He trained my nephew. It has been a difficult time, we will miss him dearly, ”an anonymous parent told WSOC-TV on Monday.
A GoFundMe set up for the Harris family ahead of the Sheriff’s press conference was also full of praise for the late professor.
“Our lives will never be the same again because Coach Harris touched the lives of everyone he met. He never met a foreigner and the encouragement and motivation he gave to his students and athletes was invaluable. Coach Harris’s smile will forever be etched in our hearts, ”reads the fundraiser’s description.
The sheriff took on a much more ominous tone on Wednesday, warning that Harris’s death may not be the latest cartel-related violence to hit the area.
“When we are dealing with the Mexican drug cartels, someone is probably going to die,” Johnson said. “The Mexican cartels, they don’t forget. They’re going to reimburse someone somewhere.