By Alton Mitchell
Gunfire erupted on a dead end street in Opelika Saturday night. The bullets that pierced through the quiet residential neighborhood just a short distance from Interstate 85 would claim two lives and leave a family torn with younger members of the family asking why and how this could happen to someone who they had learned to look up to as a role model.
Derris Terrel Harris had spent his 31-years of life as a resident of LaFayette. Born and raised in a community that he loved alongside family that he loved even greater. The world of his family came tumbling down shortly after 9:00 pm on Saturday night when Harris passed away from a gunshot injury at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.
Harris’ cousin Marquetta Bulger says, “My cousin Derris Terrel Harris was one of the most loving, smart, and down to people you wanted to meet. He loved his family so much. He adored his mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, brother, and his father.”
Bulger explains that Harris had a very strong love for children and that love was returned by children. “I remember my son saying one day mama I wish I had a dad like Reil,” recalled Bulger while recalling the level of love that Harris displayed to her children and herself.
Bulger recalls the great man that Harris had become not only in his love of family, but in his love of God. Just a few weeks before his death Harris gave his life to God. She explains this is the reason she knows he is in heaven shinning looking down and smiling with his memorable smile.
As investigators continue to work on their investigation into the death of Harris, Bulger asks that everyone keep the family in their prayers especially those who were closest to Harris. Those members include his mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, father, and brother.
Bulger also has a message to those who are responsible for the death of her cousin. “To the person or people that are responsible for taking our loved ones life just know we will not give up on prayer and we are going to keep the faith because that day will come that you will have to pay the price in front of the Judge and those 12,” explains Bulger.
In closing Bulger says, “We love you baby so many sweet memories. I will never forget the I love you and that beautiful smile that just lights up the room. God’s Angel.” Opelika investigators continue to look into the homicide and ask anyone with information to please contact investigators at 334-745-8665 or 334-705-5220. No word has been released on funeral arrangements for Harris.