Darius Lee, a 21-year-old student-athlete at Houston Baptist University (HBU), has been identified as one of the victims of a recent shooting in Harlem, New York. Sadly, Lee’s life and prospects were cut short due to the incident, sending a massive wave of grief from Manhattan to Texas.
The incident went down in the early hours of Monday, June 20. At around 12:40 a.m., authorities responded to reports of gunfire erupting at a small gathering.
Lee, who was in town visiting, was one of nine people who sustained injuries. While the other victims — six men and two women — had non-life-threatening wounds, Lee’s injuries were far graver, and he was ultimately pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Watch as Police Commissioner Sewell and NYPD executives provide an update on multiple people shot in Harlem. https://t.co/4YpkysonqB
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) June 20, 2022
HBU recently honored Lee with the title of the university’s Male Student-Athlete of the Year and released a statement on the young basketball star’s passing.
“We are devastated. Darius was a remarkable young man who loved the Lord, his mom, his family, his teammates, his friends and his entire HBU family. We are in shock and cannot wrap our heads around this news,” Ron Cottrell, the university’s head basketball coach, said.
“As great of a basketball player as he was, he was an even better person,” he added. “He was a joy to coach, and we loved him so much. Please keep his mom, sister and family in your prayers, as well as our HBU basketball family, during this very difficult time.”
Steve Moniaci, HBU’s Director of Athletics, also shared some words on the situation.
“Our prayers are with his family first and most importantly, but also with his friends, coaches and teammates. He was a very fine young man who had a very bright future in front of him, both on and off the court,” he noted.
“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 continued.
𝗢𝘂𝗿 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗯𝗿𝗼𝗸𝗲𝗻 …
— HBU BASKETBALL (@HBUBasketball) June 20, 2022
Contrell further spoke on Lee during a brief interview that started circulating on Twitter.
“He was a terrific basketball player, obviously. I think everyone knew that,” he began, listing off some of Lee’s noteworthy achievements, including scoring a game-changing 52 points during a recent match-up against McNeese State University. “The guys on our team looked up to him as a leader.”
“He was just a special kid off the court,” Contrell continued. “He never showboated… He was just a guy who showed up and did his business and wanted the team to win basketball games. That’s what he was all about.”
Coach Ron Cottrell & the Houston Baptist family mourning the passing of forward Darius Lee, shot & killed last night in Harlem in New York City. Darius had 1 year of eligibility left w/ HBU. Last season he scored 52 points against McNeese,highest scoring game of the year in Div 1 pic.twitter.com/mTolEP0MEf
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) June 20, 2022
Darius Lee grew up in Harlem, attending St. Raymond High School for Boys in the Bronx. He attended Sullivan County Community College (aka SUNY Sullivan) for a short while before transferring to Houston Baptist, where he was scheduled to graduate with a Bachelor’s in December.
It is with great sadness we share the tragic passing of SUNY Sullivan alum Darius Lee (’19). The former All-American was in the process of completing his final year of eligibility at Houston Baptist University. We would like to offer our condolences to his friends and family. pic.twitter.com/Y9Httl17Pw
— Sullivan CC Basketball (@SullivanMBB) June 21, 2022
Our condolences go out to Lee’s family, friends and teammates during this troubling time.