A basketball coach and teacher at a North Carolina charter school was killed in a shootout with a drug cartel last Thursday, police told WBTV, the CBS-affiliated TV station in Charlotte, North Carolina. The violence occurred after a home invasion took place in a mobile park.
Barney Dale Harris, the basketball and track coach at Union Academy Charter School, was pronounced dead at the scene. Alonso Beltran Lara was taken to a local hospital after sustaining injuries, but he ended up passing away as well. The Alamance County Sheriff’s deputies said both people were shot inside the trailer.
Union Academy Charter School released a statement following the news of the incident.
“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 statement read. “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.”
According to the sheriff’s office detectives, both Harris and Lara were reportedly a part of two separate criminal operations. The sheriff said that Lara was a drug runner for the Sinaloa New Generation Cartel and the trailer was reportedly the stash house.
Harris and a group of people were allegedly at the home to steal drugs and money, which led to the shootout which killed both Harris and Lara, according to detectives. During the investigation, the sheriff’s office said that they confiscated 1.2 kilograms of cocaine, five guns, and approximately $7,000 in cash.
Steven Alexander Stewart Jr. was also connected to the crime and he was arrested and charged with first-degree burglary on Sunday. The next day, he was charged with first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon. He is currently in the Alamance County Detention Center held without bond.
The two vehicles involved in the incident were also found.
During a Wednesday press conference, the sheriff announced the connection to a Mexican drug cartel, and he said that there were no other injuries from the alleged shootout, however, some other trailers were hit with bullets.
The case is currently ongoing and additional charges are possible, the sheriff’s office concluded.