Houston Baptist University basketball player Darius Lee was shot and killed early Monday morning at a gathering in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, according to the New York City Police Department. Lee was only 21-years old. A native of NYC, Lee was home for summer break. Houston Baptist coach Ron Cottrell issued a statement on behalf of the university and called Lee as a “remarkable young man” and a “joy to coach.”
“We are in shock and cannot wrap our heads around this news,” Cottrell said in a statement posted on the university’s website. “My heart breaks for his mom, his sister and his entire family, and for our basketball team. … As great of a basketball player as he was, he was an even better person.”
Absolutely heart-wrenching news about the passing of Houston Baptist star Darius Lee earlier today.
HBU coach Ron Cottrell provided a statement on Lee. pic.twitter.com/my0fVihYSh
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) June 20, 2022
Police said when they arrived at the scene after reports of gunfire, they found nine people – seven males and two females – suffering from gunshot wounds. A firearm was discovered at the scene, but no further information was made available and no arrests have been made.
The New York Daily News reported that the event was a cookout organized by Harlem rapper Rich Rhymer, and invitations on his Instagram account.
Lee attended St. Raymond High School for Boys in the Bronx and played basketball at a community college in New York’s Sullivan County before he arrived at Houston Baptist University. He averaged 18 points and eight rebounds per game this past season on 53/29/77 shooting splits.
He was named the university’s Male Student-Athlete of the Year. Lee led the team in scoring and rebounding, and finished sixth in the nation in steals per game. He was named second-team All-Southland Conference. Lee scored 52 points in a quadruple-overtime victory last season, as well.
Lee is one the latest people to die as a result of gun violence at a time where it the issue is dominating the national conversation. According to Gun Violence Archive, there have been 20,515 deaths attributed to gun violence as of June 20 of this year, and 278 mass shootings.
It’s clear to anyone with common sense and compassion that we have a serious gun problem in this country that needs to be addressed.
This isn’t really a debate. There is only one position needed on this issue, and it’s to highly restrict access to guns.
The background check bill that would limit access to guns (HR8) is sitting with Senate awaiting a vote to be passed. But the 50 Republican senators who are beholden to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and devoid of common sense refuse to vote.
Across the country citizens on both sides of the aisle are reaching out to their senators and urging something be done.
In Wyoming, conservative Republican Sen. Cynthia Lummis said in the aftermath of the Uvalde shooting it was doubtful that measures like background checks to curb gun violence would be welcomed in her very pro-gun state. But within weeks she changed her tune after her office was flooded with calls from constituents expressing their wish to do something about mass shootings.
Shootings are down 11 percent overall so far in New York City this, compared to last year. Murders are down 12 percent but are still at their second-highest level since 2012.