A North Carolina teacher was gunned down in a shootout with members of a Mexican drug cartel last week, a report said.
Barney Harris, who taught and coached basketball at Union Academy in Monroe, and his brother-in-law Steven Stewart, were allegedly trying to steal drugs and cash from a trailer used by the cartel last Thursday when all hell broke loose, WTVD reported, citing authorities.
Harris and Stewart busted into the trailer in a park in Alamance County, but were confronted soon after by alleged 18-year-old cartel member Alonso Lara, the county sheriff, Terry Johnson, told reporters at a Wednesday press conference.
The in-laws allegedly executed Lara when he refused to tell them where their stash was hidden, Johnson said.
Other cartel members then arrived, triggering a gun battle that left Harris dead.
“Mr. Harris, he had a bulletproof vest on, but it did not work with the kind of ammunition that was used,” Johnson told reporters, according to the report.
“They went there to do what was done except they did not think it was going to backfire on them.”
Stewart was arrested after the shooting and charged with murder and armed robbery, the report said.
Johnson said one of the trailer’s other residents, Daniel Lara, is sought on suspicion of trafficking cocaine. There is a warrant out for his arrest.
The sheriff said he believes Daniel Lara may have fled to Mexico.
Authorities found roughly two pounds of cocaine and $7,000 at the trailer.
Johnson said he is concerned the cartel may strike back.
“I am still worried about some retaliation because the Mexican cartels, they don’t forget,” Johnson said.
“They are going to pay someone back, and that concerns me a great deal as sheriff of this county.”
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