Friends, family question police account

Teen athlete, leader killed by off-duty cop
September 14, 2009 (CHICAGO) Corey Harris-- a junior at Dyett High School -- was killed Friday afternoon after leaving school near 69th and King Drive. Police say Harris, 17, shot one man and then pointed his gun at an off-duty officer as he ran from the scene. The officer shot Harris.

Harris family, friends, and coach say the varsity basketball player did not have a problem with police.

"My students are hurting. They are confused," said Principal Robert McMiller, Dyett High School.

McMiller said the 600 students at Dyett High School are having trouble coping with the grief of losing a classmate. He describes Harris as a well-mannered young man who was well-liked by other students.

"The thing that hit me first was that this was so uncharacteristic of Corey," Principal McMiller said.

Harris has an 8-month-old daughter, Courtney, on whom he doted, friends and family said. He was an impressive athlete, starting varsity since he was a sophomore. He was expected to be a standout on the court his junior year.

"He had natural leadership abilities and we had high accolades for the kid. We thought he was going to be a tremendous asset for us, not only on the team but in the school as a whole," said Patrick Bowie, varsity basketball coach.

On Monday, students at Dyett wrote tributes to Harris on a large poster in the hallway.

"Basically, everybody just wants the truth. It's hard to see somebody like that just, just pass away like that; just go away," said Rolland Craig, Harris' teammate.

Harris' family said the teenager was not involved in the shooting and didn't know the man chasing him as an officer.

The Medical Examiner ruled Harris died from a gunshot wound to the back.

"For everyone who knows Corey, if he'd known that was an officer chasing him, he would have stopped. He would have stopped. He did not aim a gun at this officer," said Marquisha Williams, Harris' aunt.

The Independent Police Review Authority is not commenting on this case- except to say it is under investigation. The officer involved in the shooting is still on duty during the investigation.

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