Houston Baptist basketball star Darius Lee was fatally shot in New York City during the early hours of Monday, the New York Police Department and the university announced.
In a statement, the NYPD said it received a report about a shooting at East 139th St. and Fifth Ave. in Manhattan after midnight, PEOPLE reported. Officers who responded to the scene found Lee and eight other individuals with gunshot wounds.
The individuals were taken to local hospitals, but Lee, 21, succumbed to his injuries. Authorities are currently investigating the shooting, and an arrest is yet to be made. Authorities also said Lee wasn’t the intended target, New York Post reported.
“He was an innocent kid that was in school playing basketball,” Lee’s sister, Tiara, told the news outlet. “He cared about basketball. He decided to stay outside one day, and this is what happens.”
“My brother’s gone,” she added. “Great kid. He’s gone for no reason. I’ve been trying to figure it out myself.
Lee was a student-athlete at Houston Baptist University, and he was “on track to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in December,” the school said in a statement, adding that the Harlem native was also “recently named HBU Robbie Robertson Male Student-Athlete of the Year.”
“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,” Ron Cottrell, who is the James Sears Bryant Head Men’s Basketball coach at HBU, said.
“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,” he added.
HBU Director of Athletics, Steve Moniaci, also sent his condolences to Lee’s family and loved ones, saying that the deceased basketball star “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,” Moniaci added.