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Houston Baptist ‘devastated’ by Darius Lee’s death

The Houston Baptist basketball program is “devastated” by the tragic death of Darius Lee, who died in a mass shooting in Harlem early Monday.

Lee was one of nine people who was shot in the incident; police said that he was the only person who died, and was not the intended target in the shooting.

“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,” head coach Ron Cottrell said in a statement. “We are in shock and cannot wrap our heads around this news. My heart breaks for his mom, his sister and his entire family, and for our basketball team. The only thing we find comfort in right now is knowing where Darius is. He is in the arms of Jesus… we know that as fact. And we will see him again some day.
 
“As great of a basketball player as he was, he was an even better person. I can’t even think of basketball right now. I can only think of what a light Darius was during his short time on earth. 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.”

A photo of Darius Lee is put up outside a memorial in Harlem on Monday.
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT

Lee was Houston Baptist’s leading scorer and rebounder this past season, and was on track to graduate this December.

“Our prayers are with his family first and most importantly, but also with his friends, coaches, and teammates,” Houston Baptist athletics director Steve Moniaci said in a statement.

“He was a very fine young man who had a very bright future in front of him both on and off the court. 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.”

The 6-foot-6 guard played at SUNY Sullivan Community College before he transferred to Houston Baptist.

Darius Lee (r.) playing for Houston Baptist in 2020.
Darius Lee (r.) playing for Houston Baptist in 2020.
USA TODAY Sports
Darius Lee (23) playing for Houston Baptist in 2020.
Darius Lee (23) playing for Houston Baptist in 2020.
AP

“He was an innocent kid that was in school playing basketball,” Lee’s sister, Tiara, told The Post in an earlier story. “He cared about basketball. He decided to stay outside one day, and this is what happens.

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

Jorge Lopez, the coach at St. Raymond High School for Boys in The Bronx, where Lee played in high school, discussed being “heartbroken” by the tragedy.

Houston Baptist men's basketball coach Ron Cottrell.
Houston Baptist men’s basketball coach Ron Cottrell.
Getty Images

“When I first found out about it, I had heard about the shooting in Harlem, but I was just so devastated when I came to find out that Darius Lee was the victim who was killed,” Lopez said.

“I’m completely heartbroken,” Lopez added. “He had everything going for him — a great career, a great family.

“He loved coming back and monitoring young people. He worked out with our guys, got to play pick-up with the players and just spend time with them.”

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