ALAMANCE COUNTY, NC – A popular Union County teacher and coach was killed in a shooting last week with a Mexican drug cartel, according to the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office.
Barney Harris was the basketball coach at Union Academy in Monroe, where he was well loved and respected, but Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said Harris had another side that most people didn’t see, one that was involved. in the dangerous and deadly world of drugs.
Channel 9 learned that Harris and his brother-in-law Steven Alexander Stewart went to a mobile home park on Wyatt Road in Green Level, North Carolina, in the early hours of the morning of April 8 to steal money and drugs from the man’s hideout. Poster of the New Generation of Sinola. .
Johnson said the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office was inundated with calls shortly after 12:50 a.m. in reference to reports of gunshots being heard in the mobile home park.
When they got there, officers said they found Harris with multiple gunshot wounds in a bedroom. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Alonso Beltrán Lara, 18, a member of the cartel, was also found with gunshot wounds. Officers said his feet were tied and his arms were tied behind his back. He was taken to a hospital where he later died.
According to Johnson, Harris and Stewart broke into a trailer and Alonso Beltran Lara appeared while they were inside. Johnson said the men questioned Lara about the stash and when she didn’t give them the answers they wanted, they shot her in the head.
“And they were trying to find the money and the drugs and apparently he didn’t give them the information to do it and technically he was close range, two bullets to the back of the head, he was executed,” Johnson said.
Johnson said that after the couple killed Alonso Beltrán Lara, other members of the cartel showed up and Harris was killed in the shooting that followed.
According to Johnson, dozens of shell casings were found at the scene. Some traversed other trailers in the community, but no additional injuries were reported.
“The trailers that went off. It looks like an old West shooting, that’s what it looked like, ”Johnson said.
The sheriff said Harris was wearing a bulletproof vest, but it was no match for the high-caliber firepower of the cartel’s weapons.
“Mr. Harris, I was wearing a bulletproof vest, but it didn’t work with the type of ammunition that was used,” Johnson said. “He was wearing gloves, and he, they went there to do what was done, except they didn’t think that it was going to backfire on them. “
Detectives believe Harris and Stewart had been using electronic trackers to track cartel members prior to the shooting.
Johnson said Stewart, who is from Wadesboro, survived the shooting and was arrested Sunday. He has been charged with first degree robbery, first degree murder and possession of a firearm by a criminal.
Harris was hired by Union Academy Charter School in July 2017 as a high school Spanish teacher and served as the head coach of the men’s varsity basketball and men’s varsity athletics team.
“It’s hard to understand,” Johnson said. “The fact that someone like Mr. Harris, who apparently had a pretty good life as a teacher and coach ended up in this kind of crime.”
Agents said they found about two pounds of cocaine in the trailer along with $ 7,000.
Juan Daniel Salinas Lara is wanted in reference to the case and has active arrest warrants for cocaine trafficking.
Anyone with information should call the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office at 336-570-6300 to speak with a member of the Criminal Investigation Division or report anonymously by calling Alamance County Crime Stoppers at 336-229 -7100 or by downloading the mobile app, P3Tips.