Assistant basketball coach at Marshall-Metro shot

Written By BY BRIAN SLODYSKO AND CLYDE TRAVIS Staff Reporters Posted: 03/03/2014, 10:42am

The high school hoops coach was taking his daughter to school Thursday morning when he slowed to a stop at a Humboldt Park traffic light, authorities said.

Moments later, two young men approached, unloading a barrage of gunfire into the passenger side of the car, they added.

When the shooting was done, the two gunman had fled and Marshall-Metro High School assistant basketball coach Shawn Harrington lay bleeding inside the car from multiple gunshot wounds, authorities said.

But Harrington’s daughter was safe. The 38-year-old coach — who also played for the 1991 Marshall team made famous in the documentary Hoop Dreams — sheltered her from the onslaught of bullets near Augusta and Hamlin about 7:45 a.m., according to police and other coaches on the team.

He remained in critical condition Thursday evening at Stroger Hospital — a victim of what one police source said was a likely case of mistaken identity.

“Two [bullets] went straight through and the third went into his spine while he was shielding his daughter,” said Marshall assistant coach Albert Sharp.

Police have not made an arrest as Thursday night. Chicago Public Schools, where records indicate Harrington also is employed as a special education classroom assistant, declined to comment.

Police say Harrington was driving south on Hamlin when he stopped at the red light. Then, they say, the two gunman, who were hanging out at the intersection, approached.

Before opening fire, one of the two men walked up to Harrington’s car and tapped on the window with a handgun, said Marshall varsity coach Henry Cotton, who had been texting with Harrington moments before the shooting.

“He was just letting me know that he was on his way,” Cotton said. “It was like every other morning. We were just talking like we always do.”

Neighbors said they woke up to the sound of gunfire.

“The whole passenger side was lit up,” 17-year-old Johnny Jones said, describing Harrington’s car after the shooting.

The teen had stayed at his grandmother’s house Wednesday night to watch the Oklahoma Thunder and Miami Heat game. When he looked across the street in the morning, he saw the front of Harrington’s car up over the curb and investigators swarming the place.

A clerk at a nearby convenience store said police asked to review the store’s surveillance footage.

Meanwhile, players, coaches, and friends of Harrington were reeling from the shooting.

“The guys, myself, the kids — we are all down right now,” said Cotton, the team’s head coach. “Everybody is kind of hurt right now.”

“We are all trying to cope with this the best way we can,” he continued. “Our prayers are with him and we hope that he pulls through.”

Contributing: George Slefo

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