A North Carolina high school Spanish teacher who coached varsity basketball was killed after he got into a shootout at a Mexican drug cartel’s stash house.
According to the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, on April 8, Barney Harris and his brother-in-law, Steven Stewart, went to a mobile home in Green Level, and Harris was fatally shot.
“It was believed that this was during a home invasion for money and drugs,” Sheriff Terry Johnson said, Greensboro’s WFMY-TV reported.
According to investigators, Harris and Stewart allegedly tied up Alonso Beltran Lara and shot him in the head. He later died from his injuries.
Harris and Stewart then got into what Johnson described as “like an old western shootout” with the cartel. Multiple bullets struck Harris, who was wearing a bulletproof best, and he died at the scene.
Residents in the mobile home park called 911 in the aftermath of the incident.
“I just heard a bunch of gunshots outside my house ... and I mean a lot of gunshots,” one caller told an emergency dispatcher, according to WFMY-TV.
Another unnamed neighbor reported to 911, “They just opened fire like kind of catty-corner from my trailer. So, I jumped in the house, in the trailer, and got on the floor and they sped off. They were still shooting.”
Following the incident, detectives seized 1.2 kilograms of cocaine, around $7,000 cash and five guns.
Union Academy Charter School, where Harris taught in Monroe, said in a statement: “He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, players, students and colleagues.”
Harris’ brother-in-law, Stewart, now faces multiple charges, including first-degree murder.
“Nothing surprises me,” Johnson said of the deadly shootout, noting that “there are people in families who have relatives that violate the law and never know what's going on.”