ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — A popular Union County teacher and coach was killed in a shootout 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 there was another side to Harris that most people didn’t see — one that was involved in the dangerous and deadly drug world.
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Channel 9 learned Harris and his associate Steven Alexander Stewart went to a mobile home park in Alamance County last Thursday to steal money and drugs from cartel members.
According to Johnson, Harris and Stewart shot and killed an 18-year-old member of the cartel and then got into a shootout with other members of the cartel.
Harris was killed in the gunfire.
“Mr. Harris, he had a bulletproof vest on, but it did not work with the kind of ammunition that was used,” Johnson said. “He had gloves on, and he, they went there to do what was done except they did not think it was going to backfire on them.”
Johnson said Stewart, who is from Wadesboro, survived the shooting and was arrested. He has been charged with armed robbery and murder.
Harris was hired by Union Academy Charter School in July 2017 as a high school Spanish teacher and served as the head coach for the varsity men’s basketball team and varsity men’s track team.
>> The sheriff told reporter Mark Becker that this shocking crime is just part of the frightening jump in drug trafficking they’ve seen up and down I-85. We’ll have more on this developing story on Channel 9 at 5 p.m.