911 calls shed light on shootout involving Union County teacher and Mexican drug cartel

North Carolina

ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — Newly released 911 calls are shedding some light on the terrifying scene of a shootout involving a popular Union County teacher and a Mexican drug cartel.

911: Yes, ma’am.

Caller: The neighbors are shooting, and the bullets are hitting over here, near our trailer.

911: What lot number?

Caller: Neighbors on Lot 27, that are shooting. And it’s two guys.

To listen to the 911 calls in their entirety, click the play buttons below:

The shootout between rival cartels ended with two men dead, including a teacher from Union Academy Charter School who was allegedly involved, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson compared the shooting to an “old Western shootout.”

At about 12:52 a.m. on April 8, 2021, the sheriff’s office got multiple calls reporting shots fired at a mobile home park on the 1000 block of Wyatt Road, according to Johnson. The sheriff described the home as a “stash house.”

At the scene, deputies found 18-year-old Alonzo Beltran Lara. Lara had been shot but was still alive. Lara later died at a hospital.

Johnson says Lara was allegedly a drug runner who lived in the trailer with one other person.

Barney Harris, of Union County, was found dead at the scene. Harris was a high school Spanish teacher and coach at Union Academy Charter School, the school said on Facebook.

The sheriff’s office believes Harris had entered the mobile home while no one was there and waited for Lara to arrive. When Lara arrived, his hands and feet were bound, the sheriff said.

Lara was found with two gunshot wounds to the back of the head in what appears to be an execution-style killing.

Harris was found in the bedroom and had been shot multiple times. He was wearing a vest, gloves, and a face covering.

“Coach” Barney Harris had been teaching Spanish at Union Academy for four years, was a freshman advisor, and was also the head varsity basketball and track and field coach, according to the school website.

About 30 shell casings were found in and outside of the trailer, and three other mobile homes were struck by gunfire. Multiple guns were used, the sheriff’s office said.

“It was almost like an old Western shootout,” the sheriff said.

The trailer had been ransacked, and deputies say they found about a kilo of cocaine near Lara at the scene.

Steven Alexander Stewart Jr., 32, of Waynesboro, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and first-degree burglary. He is believed to be one of the killers.

Stewart is the brother-in-law of Harris. Stewart’s home was searched by authorities who found firearms and objects tied to the crime scene at the home.

The sheriff says this incident is the result of a conflict between two rival criminal enterprises.

“When we are dealing with the Mexican drug cartels, somebody’s probably going to die as a result of this right here somewhere else. And we did not want to put it out there until we could get good grips on what we had going on here.

“Coach” Barney Harris had been teaching Spanish at Union Academy for four years, was a freshman advisor, and was also the head varsity basketball and track and field coach, according to the school website.

“The UA community is mourning the unexpected loss of teacher and coach Barney Harris,” the school posted. “UA students, staff and families are asked to wear UA Spirit Wear on Monday, April 12 to celebrate the life of Coach Barney Harris, whose motto ‘All Love…No Fear,’ will be forever a part of who we are as a school. Love each other and live each day to the fullest.”

The school website says Harris was married with two sons and a daughter.

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