Watch CBS News

Deadly shooting of Darius Lee at Harlem park just the latest in string of shootings in NYC

get the free app
  • link copied
College basketball star Darius Lee killed in Harlem shooting 02:30

NEW YORK -- A college basketball star was killed and eight other people were injured in a mass shooting in Harlem overnight. Police still have not made any arrests.

CBS2s Ali Bauman spoke to the victim's father.

Family members held each other in agony Monday, mourning 21-year-old Darius Lee.

"This is something different, Nobody expect that. He don't curse, don't hang out, don't drink, don't do anything. He just plays PS5 and plays basketball," Eric Lee said.

Darius Lee was one of the nine people shot overnight on Fifth Avenue and 139th Street. The scene was so close to where Lee lived, his sister heard the shots and instinctually feared the worst.

"She called. He didn't answer. She called again. He didn't answer. His best friend called his mom and said, 'I'm sorry.' She said 'Sorry for what?' He said, 'I'm sorry, Darius was shot,'" Eric Lee said.

"Humble, quiet, star, amazing," sister Tiara Weaver said of her brother.

Weaver, who asked that CBS2 only record her voice, said Lee was one of a kind.

"We love him. We're gonna miss him. I don't know what I'm gonna do. That's my other half," Weaver said. "He was never supposed to die, never. My mother is never supposed to bury her kid."

The block was crowded before the shooting. Police said people were out having a barbecue, and a group was also filming a music video when investigators believe some kind of dispute broke out.

A gun was later recovered at the scene.

"Get some resources here to stop this violence because our people are dying and we're tired of it," Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said.

The latest NYPD data shows that shootings citywide are down 10 percent so far this year compared to last, but up 47 percent compared to two years ago.

"When is enough going to be enough? When we gonna put these guns down?" Chaplain Robert Rice, community affairs liaison for the NYPD, told CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis.

Darius Lee was a star basketball player at St. Raymond High School for Boys in the Bronx. From there, he got a full ride to Houston Baptist University, and was supposed to graduate in December. He averaged 18.2 points per game as a senior and had one of the most electric performances of the season when he scored 52 points in a quadruple overtime game against McNeese State, the most points scored in a Division I game all season.

His coach at Houston Baptist, Ron Cottrell, said Lee was a great player, but an even better person.

"He was one of those guys everybody loved," Ron Cottrell said. "He would've been probably preseason player of the year going into next year in our conference. [He had] a terrific future ahead of him as a pro player. Just one of those guys you knew the future was bright for. Darius Lee, he was gonna do something special."

"I hope justice is served and I hope the NYPD do their job and find those people that killed my son," Eric Lee said.

Police told Bauman the other eight shooting victims are expected to survive.

Authorities have not made any arrests and ask anyone with information to call the NYPD.


Innocent bystanders struck in the Bronx

NYC gun violence: Bystanders struck on Bronx basketball court 02:28

Less than 24 hours after Lee was gunned down, police say two innocent bystanders were struck in a drive-by shooting at a basketball court in the Bronx. Both men are expected to recover. 

"I could hear like, 'pow pow,' like seven shots," Melrose resident Ramona Lewis told CBS2. 

Lewis was glad she was safe inside her home when gunshots rang out around 9:30 p.m. Monday on the basketball court at the Jackson Houses, but she feels for her community and the injured. 

"It's terrible, terrible," she said. 

It's the same basketball court that youth organizations are planning games to kids to avoid such violence. But parents say nothing seems to help. 

"Everywhere you go, there is trouble. Everywhere you go, there will be shooting," said grandparent Belle Hardy. 

"There is no safe space for kids, because they'll do anything anywhere," Melrose resident Jessica Hall added. 

By John Dias

Mayor Adams to make public safety announcement

Mayor Adams to make public safety announcement 03:24

Mayor Eric Adams and the NYPD will be making a public safety announcement Tuesday in wake of the recent gun violence in the city. 

A basketball court in the Bronx was the latest crime scene, where police said two men were shot in a drive-by shooting. Both are expected to survive. 

It happened around 9:30 p.m. Monday at the Jackson Houses on East 157th Street and Courtland Avenue. 

Now with the official start of summer, many New Yorkers are fearing the worst. Gun violence may be down, but as the temperatures rise, traditionally shooting spike as well. 

By John Dias

"A wonderful young man"

St. Raymond High School for Boys Principal Judith Carew shared the following:   

"Darius was a good-hearted, smart, talented young man whose life was on a positive path. He graduated in 2018 from St. Raymond and was working hard academically while following his passion playing basketball in college. He was succeeding at both. The world has lost a wonderful young man and our Raven family is heartbroken and prays for his family as they endure this unbearable loss."

By CBS New York Team

College "devastated" by Lee's death

Houston Baptist University men's basketball Head Coach Ron Cottrell released the following statement: 

 "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. 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."

By CBS New York Team

Victim identified as Darius Lee

CBS2's John Dias spoke with the victim's former basketball coach, who said he was a good kid and must have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. He said the 21-year-old was home from college for the summer. 

"He was someone that everyone would root for. He's a hometown hero," Coach Chris Williams told Dias. 

At just 21 years old, promising college basketball player Darius Lee's life came to a tragic end. He was fatally shot while attending a barbecue along the Harlem River that went on into early Monday morning. 

It's the same neighborhood he grew up in, but it was at St. Raymond High School for Boys in the Bronx where he also made his mark. 

"I coached high school basketball for a long time, and you run into certain kids that you say, 'I would love for my son to be like that,'" Williams said. 

For his former coach, Lee was that player. He said the college senior got a full ride to Houston Baptist University and was supposed to graduate in December. 

"Beyond highlights, Darius was an incredible young man. Basketball doesn't really do him justice," said Williams. "Special kid, real special kid."

Police said Lee was one of nine people shot at the barbecue that turned into a mass shooting. Everyone else is expected to survive. 

One man said he heard the gunshots as they echoed along the Harlem River Drive and West 139th Street. 

"Many in rapid succession. Around 40 or 50 shots in such a short span of time," he said.

Then he said he saw almost 100 people flee, running like a stampede. 

"There was a lot of screaming and running at the same time in all directions," the witness added. "Some of them almost getting hit by cars."

Police said a gun was recovered at the scene, but it's unclear if it was one of the weapons used to carry out the mass shooting. 

"The emboldened individuals responsible for this are exactly who our officers are battling every day to make our city safe," said NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell. "While we are making some headway against violence, we have a lot of work to do."

Homicides in New York City are down compared to last year. There have been 189 so far this year, but there were 218 by this time last year. 

Still, neighbors are outraged. 

"These are people's lives. Everybody's life is valuable, and there's no reason to take another person's life," one person said. 

Police are still trying to figure out how many shooters were involved. 

By John Dias

Possible motive revealed

Police sources tell CBS2 the shooting stemmed from a dispute over a music video that was being filmed at the location. 

CBS2's John Dias will have the latest on the investigation coming up on CBS2 News At Noon.

By CBS New York Team

Details emerge overnight

As CBS2's John Dias reported, a large group of people were gathered, possible for a late-night barbecue, when the celebration turned into a deadly shooting. 

At least nine people were shot. All were treated at the scene before being taken to area hospitals. 

A 21-year-old man was pronounced dead at Lincoln Hospital. 

The other eight people -- six men and two women ranging in ages from 21 to 42 -- were listed in stable condition and expected to pull through. Most suffered graze wounds. 

The police commissioner is now asking the community to help track down the suspects. 

"The emboldened individuals responsible for this are exactly who our officers are battling every day to make our city safe," said NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell. "While we are making some headway against violence, we have a lot of work to do."

A gun was recovered at the scene, but it's unclear if that was the weapon used to carry out the shooting. 

Authorities have the surrounding roads blocked off as they continue their investigation. 

By John Dias
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.