High School Basketball Coach Barney Harris Killed in Shootout with Drug Cartel

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIApril 14, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Nike Elite basketball sit on the rack prior to the 2020 Horizon League Mens Basketball Championships championship game between the Northern Kentucky Norse and the UIC Flames on March 10, 2020 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis, IN.(Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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Barney Dale Harris, who worked as the head coach for the boys' varsity basketball and track and field teams at Union Academy Charter School in Monroe, North Carolina, was shot and killed during an alleged shootout with the Sinaloa New Generation Cartel.

According to WBTV, the shooting took place at a mobile home park in Green Level, North Carolina, which is located in Alamance County, just before 1 a.m. ET on Thursday, April 8.

Terry Johnson, the Alamance County Sheriff, released information about the alleged shootout during a news conference with reporters on Wednesday.

The Alamance County Sheriff's Office alleges that Harris and his brother-in-law, 32-year-old Steven Alexander Stewart Jr., went to a stash house with the intent to steal drugs and money from the cartel, per Hank Lee and Briana Harper of WCNC Charlotte.

The Sheriff's Office alleges that Harris and Stewart Jr. broke into the home and waited for someone to arrive before the robbery, per Joe Marusak of the Charlotte Observer

Alonso Beltran Lara, an 18-year-old who allegedly worked as a drug runner for the cartel, then walked inside where Harris and Stewart allegedly bound and gagged him before shooting him twice in the back of the head outside the house.

Stewart has since been arrested and charged with first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and possession of a firearm by a felon, according to WBTV.

Per Marusak, Johnson said that an "old Western shootout" soon erupted between "two criminal enterprises," one represented by Harris and Stewart Jr. and the other being the cartel. Harris was shot and killed during that gunfire and was found dead inside a bedroom in the house.

Juan Daniel Salinas Lara is wanted in connection with the case, per WBTV. He also has active warrants for cocaine trafficking.

Per Lee, investigators discovered 1.2 kilograms of suspected cocaine, five guns and roughly $7,000 in cash at the scene.

Union Academy released a statement in the wake of further news emerging about Harris' death:

"Union Academy’s first priority is caring for and protecting our students and staff. Earlier today, law enforcement released details about last week’s death of one of our teachers, Barney Dale Harris II. The Union Academy family was shocked and devastated to hear the information and will continue to focus on supporting our students and families. Any questions about the investigation should be directed to law enforcement."

Harris, who also taught high school Spanish at Union Academy, had been employed by the school since July 2017. He was married with three children.