The 21-year-old man killed in a mass shooting at a Father’s Day cookout in Harlem was an “amazing” person and college basketball star, shattered kin and pals told The Post on Monday.
Darius Lee, a 6-foot-6 guard from upper Manhattan who had been playing for Houston Baptist University in Texas, was among nine people shot near East 139th Street and Fifth Avenue Sunday. Lee was the sole fatality in the bloodshed. Cops say he was not the intended target of the shooting.
“He was an innocent kid that was in school playing basketball,” Lee’s stricken sister, Tiara, told The Post. “He cared about basketball. He decided to stay outside one day, and this is what happens.
“My brother’s gone,” she said sadly. “Great kid. He’s gone for no reason. I’ve been trying to figure it out myself.”
Lee was taken to Lincoln Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. He attended SUNY Sullivan Community College before transferring to Houston.
“He was an amazing young man, starting to get to the height of his athletic potential,” said Chris Williams, who coached Lee at St. Raymond High School for Boys in The Bronx.
“He was the model citizen, a great friend, an amazing kid,” Wiliams said. “He was the best I’ve ever been a part of in my life. He was someone you wanted to root for, work with and work for and go the extra mile for.
“He’s who I’d want my son to be friends with.
“I know that people say this all the time when you have senseless murders and killings, but he was truly special. I can’t even imagine what his mom is going through.”
Police have not determined a motive for the shooting, and no suspects are in custody.
Additional reporting by Larry Celona and Amanda Woods