Barney Dale Harris, a basketball coach and teacher at Union Academy Charter School in Monroe, North Carolina, was killed in a shootout with members of the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel on April 8.
Even more shocking is the fact that this shootout did not occur in some obscure corner of Mexico which is beyond the ability of the Mexican government to control. It happened, rather, in a town called Green Level, which is in Alamance County, North Carolina.
Shady Drug Connections
Though Harris was deeply beloved by his students, details have begun emerging after his death that indicate he was living a double life.
Commenting on the crime, Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson stated that he was sure the murder was ultimately drug-related.
According to the results of the Sheriff’s Office’s investigation, Harris and his brother-in-law Steven Alexander Stewart Jr. broke into a stash house for a Mexican drug cartel in an effort to steal both money and drugs.
The scene then ignited into a firefight. Stewart shot a cartel drug runner, which led to Harris being shot and killed. Harris was found dead at the scene wearing a bulletproof vest, which indicated that he arrived at the scene prepared for the possibility of bullets flying.
Police seized 1.2 kilograms of cocaine and $7,000 in cash at the scene as well.
Another man, 18-year-old Alonso Beltran Lara, was also found, tied up but alive, at the scene. Lara and Harris are currently believed to be members of a separate criminal organization.
Steven Alexander Stewart was also later arrested by police over his involvement in the shootout. He was also later found to have been involved in a burglary that took place on April 11 at about 1 a.m. and was related to the shootout from three days before.
Furthermore, Stewart was already a felon who had previously been charged with first-degree burglary, illegal possession of a firearm, and first-degree murder.
The entire event happened at a trailer park on Wyatt Road Lot 27 in Green Level, North Carolina. Harris’s approximate time of death is believed to be 12:52 a.m. on April 8.
Harris’s death was already shocking in itself and would have been enough to rock the North Carolina community where he worked and taught his students. The revelations about his involvement in the drug trade and the criminal underground, however, make this case into something one might see in a movie.