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Hoops Coach Paralyzed While Shielding Daughter from Gunfire: Prosecutors

By  Erin Meyer and Emily Morris | February 5, 2014 10:36am | Updated on February 5, 2014 2:06pm

 Deandre Thompson, 21, 800 block of North Springfield Avenue. 
Deandre Thompson, 21, 800 block of North Springfield Avenue. 
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Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A Marshall High School basketball coach was left paralyzed from the waist down while shielding his 15-year-old daughter from gunfire, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Shawn Harrington, 38, threw himself on top of his daughter as bullets pierced the windows of his car on Jan. 30 in the 3800 block of West Augusta Boulevard, police and prosecutors said.

The two were stopped at a red light when the daughter saw two men, including one who was later identified as Deandre Thompson, walking by the car, prosecutors said. A moment later, Harrington heard gunfire coming from the same direction and instinctively leaned across the passenger seat to shield his daughter.

The shooting happened about 7:45 a.m.

Harrington may have saved his daughter's life — police found a bullet lodged in the head rest of her seat — but lost the use of his legs as well as his livelihood as a basketball coach, prosecutors said.

"All he was doing was driving his daughter to school," Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said Wednesday, when Thompson appeared briefly in court. 

Thompson, 21, of the 800 block of North Springfield Avenue, was charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery with discharge of a firearm.

Harrington, who was shot twice in the back, was part of the team featured in the 1994 documentary "Hoop Dreams," the Sun-Times reported.

He has also worked as a special education classroom assistant at Marshall since 2011, according to school officials.

Despite his ordeal, "his spirits are good," Marshall Athletic Director Dorothy Gaters said.

A Cook County judge ordered Thompson held without bail.