9 Shot, College Basketball Star Left for Dead in Early Morning Harlem Shooting

One person was killed and eight others wounded early Monday in a shooting in Harlem.

Darius Lee, 21, who was a basketball star at Houston Baptist University, was killed. The 6-foot-6 Harlem native was not the intended target, police said, according to the New York Post.

A handgun was recovered at the scene. Police are investigating to determine if there were more guns involved in the incident, according to WNBC-TV. Handguns are banned in New York City except for those with city-issued licenses.


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Steve Moniaci, the athletic director at HBU, said Lee had a great future.

“This is, unfortunately, yet again, another example of the senseless gun violence that seems to be plaguing our country right now and we all pray it will cease,” Moniaci said, according to the Post.

The shooting took place at about 12:30 a.m. at a gathering on a footpath along FDR Drive just under the Madison Avenue Bridge, according to WNBC.

“I heard the whizz, the sound of the bullets flying past my hair,” Francisco Batista said, according to the New York Daily News. “I just kept turning all different kind of ways to hopefully avoid the shots. I turned like that, it hit my finger. I hit the floor, but someone I didn’t even know grabbed me up and said, ‘Let’s go, Let’s go.’ I said, ‘Yo bro, I’m hit.’ But I kept running.”

“I heard like five to seven shots,” Batista said. “It almost hit me on my side. If I didn’t turn at the last second — the only reason it hit my hand and not my side is because I turned.”

“The thing that broke my heart was the mother … saying, ‘I know you can help me find my son,’ ” community organizer Iesha Sekou told the Post.

“The mother was later told her son was at Lincoln Hospital, and when the family went there, they found out that he had terminated life, that life had ended for him,” Sekou said. “So I really want people to feel that.”


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Tiara Lee, Darius Lee’s sister, called her brother “an innocent kid that was in school playing basketball. He cared about basketball. He decided to stay outside one day, and this is what happens.”

“My brother’s gone,” she said. “Great kid. He’s gone for no reason. I’ve been trying to figure it out myself.

“We done been through storms, but this one is different. And all my family out here, just pray for us. That’s all I can ask for, just pray for us,” she said.

“It’s beyond senseless,” Darius Lee’s high school basketball coach, Chris Williams, told WNBC.

Lee was making a name in a sport he loved, according to an ESPN report.

“Lee was recently named the university’s Male Student-Athlete of the Year. He led the team in scoring and rebounding last season, and finished sixth in the nation in steals per game, earning a second team All-Southland Conference selection,” ESPN reported. “Lee scored 52 points in a quadruple-overtime victory last season, as well.”

But his career is over even before it began.

“For a kid to be home from college, wake up, workout, spend time with family and friends and have this happen to him, it’s beyond a tragedy,” Williams told WNBC.

The website Bronx News 12 said the victims in the shooting ranged in age from 21 to 42.

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