|Birth: ||May 26, 1955|
|Death: ||Dec. 10, 2002|
From The Officer Down Inc.
Chief Deputy Sheriff Sharon Joann Barnes
Dent County Sheriff's Department
End of Watch: Tuesday, December 10, 2002
Tour of Duty: 9 yr
Badge Number: 611
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Monday, December 9, 2002
Weapon Used: Handgun; .22 caliber
Suspect Info: Shot and wounded
Chief Deputy Barnes was shot shortly after noon when she and the sheriff went to a home on County Road 231, west of Salem, to investigate a double murder that occurred earlier in the morning. The suspect's girlfriend opened the door as the deputies approached the house. When Chief Deputy Barnes asked if the suspect was there, the man opened fire with a .22 caliber handgun and struck Chief Deputy Barnes in the head and torso. She was flown to St. John's Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis where she succumbed to her wounds at 0351 the following morning. The sheriff, the suspect, and another person in the house were also wounded in the ensuing shootout.
Chief Deputy Barnes had been with the Dent County Sheriff's Department for nine years.
JoAnn was a loved wife and devoted widow of P.C.(Bud) Barnes lll.
She was a favorite aunt of many nieces and nephews.
As a sister in law she was the best.
From The Officer Down Inc. Memorial Page:
The Sister I Never Knew
December 14, 2002…A week ago I had never heard the name JoAnn Barnes. I had heard of Dent County, Missouri, but had no idea where it was.
On the evening of December 9, 2002, I was attending a Christmas dinner with my wife, Réan, and our children. This dinner was put together by a local chapter of Crime Watch in honor of a division of the Sheriff's Department of which I am a Deputy.
Before we bowed our heads in thanks to God, my good friend and fellow Deputy, Larry Wittrock, asked for a moment of silence for a Deputy and the Sheriff in Dent County. Later that evening, Réan and I asked Larry for details, but at the time all he knew was that the shooting had occurred.
The next morning, Réan checked with the computer listings of the St. Louis newspaper and learned of the death of Detective Sharon "JoAnn" Barnes. She also read that Sheriff Bob Wofford had also been hit, was shortly released from the hospital and went immediately to the side of his fallen Deputy.
On the afternoon of December 10, 2002, Réan and I stopped by Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) in Camdenton, Missouri to make sure they had heard the terrible news and find out if they had any more information. Linda Lambert at COPS confirmed the information Réan had read on the computer, and said that COPS had contacted Dent County Sheriff's Department to offer any help that was needed.
COPS is a wonderful organization. They gather and maintain statistics about fatalities of law enforcement officers from all over the country. Their sole purpose is to provide assistance to the families and departments of LEO's that die in the line of duty. They contact other agencies that can assist and they help coordinate many of the behind the scenes difficulties that have to be done in the hardest of times. Just visiting COPS is heart wrenching. The walls are filled with pictures, names and memories of slain and lost officers. To have their national headquarters here in Central Missouri is a true Godsend.
Réan told me if at all possible she would like us to attend the funeral. I must admit, I was hesitant to say yes. After all, there was so much to do…I had replaced the roof this week and was so behind on my chores. The Christmas tree still wasn't up and the piles of shingles in the yard still needed cleaned up from the roof job. The bills needed to be paid and besides we were short on money. It would cost a lot to drive to…where? Dent County? Where is that?
On December 13, 2002, Réan looked at me and spoke softly. She asked me how the family of Detective Barnes would feel if all law enforcement officers felt the same way I did. She asked me if even many attended would that make our presence less important? Then she asked me to remember that it could just as easily be her and our children grieving so some day. Réan told me that it felt very important to her to go.
I realized my selfishness and felt like a heel. I also have learned there are many intuitions that Réan has that I do not. She told me the story of how the grandmother of a dear friend of hers had died years ago. Her friends' grandmother was also from a small community like those in Dent County. The kind of community where you seldom lock your doors and your neighbors know what you are having for dinner before you do. Still, only seven people had come to her funeral. Four of these people were family. How sad it seemed to Réan so few attended that funeral and how it must have made the family members feel as though her life didn't really matter. How very sad it was for this family, the Barnes family, of the sudden loss and she reminded me we needed to do our part for them and her law enforcement family. I agreed to go.
That night we went shopping for some of the Christmas gifts we still needed. We washed the farm mud from the Suburban. We ate and stayed out late trying to finish up these tasks. When Réan and I got home, one of the children was hurting from her new retainer. After soothing and talking with her and working the sharp edges off the retainer, it was well after 1:00 a.m. before we settled into bed. I set the alarm for 7:00 a.m. and told Réan we needed to leave about 7:30 a.m. I lay down and was asleep in minutes.
Though it only seemed like a very short time, the alarm woke me at 7:01 a.m. My alarm is one of those real obnoxious alarms that makes a REEP-REEP-REEP! sound. It makes you run to turn it off and angry all at the same time. The roof work from earlier in the week and the late nights trying to catch up had drained me. The REEP-REEP-REEP! took my breath away and set my heart quickly pounding. The room was cold and Réan was still asleep. I turned on the television for a few minutes and nearly dozed off again. After about twenty minutes of trying to make my body begin to function, I woke Réan and told her I was getting in the shower. The water was enough to keep me moving and when I came back into the bedroom after shaving Réan was putting my mourning band on my badge. She had gathered my finest nametag, collar brass, and other shiny items that attach to my uniform and was carefully putting them on. I watched silently for a moment and remembered how much I loved her. She does the special things like that, things that may seem small to some are very important and meaningful to us. I am very fortunate to have a wife who is so supportive of me being an LEO. She will tell anyone, it's not my job, but being an LEO is who I am.
I looked at my bullet resistant vest hanging in the closet. I am certainly no different than any other LEO out there…I hate wearing it. It pinches, it's confining, and just down right uncomfortable. I remembered my promise to Réan…when I pin on the badge I put on the vest. I silently reached for it and pulled open the stiff Velcro. She smiled at me and simply said, "Thank you."
We finished getting ready, kissed the children who were awake and passed out final instructions for the day. We gathered all of our stuff we wanted to take with us and even remembered to take the two videos that were now days late back. We drove to the store to return the movies and I remembered the Suburban had been getting hot so we bought some anti-freeze and added it to the aging and leaking radiator. The Suburban we were in, though unmarked, is fully equipped with emergency equipment and doubles as my patrol car when needed.
We finally got on the road and it was already after 8:00 a.m. Our instructions were to be at the staging area by 9:45 a.m. and we had about 140 miles to travel. We drove like the wind and when I passed the roadside Highway Patrol officer, I was certain he was going to pull me over for a lecture, but he didn't. We stopped once at the rest stop about ten miles west of Rolla. Looking at my watch, I thought for sure we were going to miss the entire funeral. We pulled into Salem at 10:15 a.m.
I was just about to start one of my big "I hate being late" announcements when we saw the Firemen directing traffic by the church. We rolled the window down and asked them where to go. "Down passed the Dodge dealer, turn right, go to Pershing and turn right again and get in line behind the other patrol cars." We drove around as instructed and pulled into our spot. Our spot seemed to be quite a distance from where I thought the church was located and there were only 8 or 9 officers in front of us walking in that direction.
Réan and I walked by the 8 or 9 officers' cars and turned the corner towards the church. We then began to realize the magnitude and the sheer vastness. There were patrol cars everywhere. There were cars from Sheriff Departments, Police Departments, Highway Patrol, Water Patrol, Conservation Departments, Military, The Forest Service, University Police Departments, Ambulances, and Fire Departments. There was easily over 150 emergency service vehicles in front of "Our Spot" and more were still parking behind the Suburban on every road and two wide.
We walked down to the parking lot of the church. There were a LOT of LEO's. They seemed to be grouped in their departments as the white shirts were together, the light blue shirts were together and the brown shirts were together. The parking lot looked to be a virtual flag of uniforms and color. Réan and I found a couple of familiar faces, shook a few hands, and went inside to get out of the cold. I waited my turn in line for some coffee and we walked into the big gathering room packed tight with people. Everyone seemed to be talking at once and I thought for a moment it seemed too casual an atmosphere as people chatted about their light topics. From the front of the room someone blew a whistle and immediately all was silent.
"It will be crowded and many will need to stand. We will lead you to your places." Other instructions were also given. Sheriff Wofford then spoke. His grief was very heavy as his words came with great difficulty. He showed great dignity when he thanked us all for coming and showing our support. He fought back the tears and stepped back into the crowd surrounded by his officers and staff. I remembered Réan had said how everyone must have been very close in such a small department and the loss of one Deputy must be so devastating. I knew she was right. I remembered how Linda at COPS had said when she called Dent County they sounded so very lost and numb. Many of our departments here in Missouri are much like Mayberry and getting killed by gunfire shouldn't happen in Mayberry.
I picked up a paper from one of the tables that had a picture of JoAnn and a picture of the Dent County Sheriff Department patch on the front. It said "In Loving Memory" and "Over 10 years of dedicated service to Dent County" on the front. Inside we read about her life and accomplishments and how she had passed away on Tuesday, December 10, 2002. We read about JoAnn's husband Bud and how he had preceded her in death. We read about how she and Bud had donated the land and equipment to ensure the residents of Rural Lenox had the Fire Department they so desperately needed. It listed the survivors in her family. It also said how she had touched their lives and would be missed.
Réan and I followed the long line of LEO's and other emergency personnel. The long line slowly and silently walked into the large sanctuary of the church. One by one we walked by the open casket and when it was my turn I looked into the face of the sister in my law enforcement family whom I had never known. I knew from all I had heard and read that morning I had missed out on a lot from not knowing JoAnn. We continued on through the sanctuary and were stationed in the left front where you would imagine a choir might sing on Sunday mornings. We were at the end of the back row.
A man spoke about JoAnn. He told of her life and how she had been a Firefighter, a Deputy, and then a Detective. He told how she had even paid for her own law enforcement training so she could join Dent County Sheriff's Department. He told about how even though he had only been in this community a few days, he had come to know a lot about JoAnn from the people who loved her. He told us he had come from Indiana and though he had never met her, he still had to stop more than once to keep the tears from overcoming him as he spoke.
A man and a woman sang beautiful music, both together and alone. A minister spoke and reminded us to look to Jesus for understanding and release from these terrible things and our grief.
Since Réan and I were facing the crowd, I was able to look into the faces of the friends, family and co-workers of the sister I had never known. There were many that sobbed gently on the outside and many more who did so inside. The service seemed long as many words needed to be said. I looked into the upper balcony. On the right half of the balcony was 4 or 5 rows of perhaps 100 officers and other emergency personnel. Unlike me, they all had chairs to sit in if they chose. None did. All stood in respect the entire service.
At the end of the service we were all brought out before the civilians so we could form an Honor Guard to oversee the loading of our sister into the vehicle that would carry her to her final resting place. Réan said, "You have to do this alone" and she stood back in the crowd. We formed 5 rows of at least 50 on each row. There was pure silence as we waited. "Funeral Detail: Attention!" We snapped straight and strong. "Present Arms!" In unison like a trained platoon, 250 saluted as the casket was brought out. After fighting them back all day, the tears started.
Réan and I walked back to the Suburban in silence. She and I had found a small glimpse of the grief these fine people had been given too much of. We got in the Suburban and waited quietly a few minutes for the front cars to begin to move. I have been to more than my share of civilian funerals and the procession always seemed to take forever to start due to lack of organization. I expected this wait to also be long, but with the experienced professional personnel involved, within 5 minutes our somber travel was underway.
We made a left at the first light and the real impact on the community JoAnn's life had made began to show. Every car along the highway, side streets, and parking lot exits along our route was stopped. Some had even found grassy areas to purposefully drive to, park, and wait. Not just a few respectful cars, but every car was stopped. People were out of their cars watching in silence as the quiet sea of patrol cars passed. Men stood with their children and took off their hats. There were dozens of people holding their hands over their hearts in a salute of respect. There were signs with long dedications and pictures. One sign at a business said simply, "We will miss her."
The cemetery was quite some distance into the remote rural area of Texas County. Though I had been so worried about our late arrival, we were about in the middle of the procession. On one long rural straightaway I looked in the mirror. I could see the horizon behind me a mile or two and also in front at least another mile. There was what seemed to be an unending river of red and blue flashing and rotating lights. We passed a tow truck that was waiting roadside in respect and even he turned on his rotating lights. Réan said how even the livestock in the fields stopped eating to watch as if to say their goodbyes.
We drove down a long gravel road. We drove past a small farmhouse that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, where a man and his daughter had come outside to watch. His hat was in his hand as if to just say thank you and his daughter was at his side. At one point the daughter leaned down to pet the family dog and this father gently reached down and helped her rise so that even the littlest ones were included.
It was very hard when we drove by the Fire Department JoAnn had started by her donation. There were black ribbons on the front of the building and the fire trucks were stationed in a "V" at the opening of the drive with their lights on. It had a sign outside that told about how Firemen there were volunteers and I thought about how I had heard someone say JoAnn would have been an LEO for free because she loved it so much.
Our ride was over. We pulled onto a muddy, gravel lane leading up to the cemetery. All the patrol cars, fire trucks, and civilian vehicles parked 2 wide to fit. Réan and I parked about 200 yards from the gravesite and walked hand in hand the rest of the way.
All of the LEO's and Firemen began lining up in rows like we had at the church. When we were all ready the call of the Honor Guard was given again. "Funeral Detail: Attention!" "Present Arms!" As we held our salute, a Scotsman in kilt and full traditional attire, began to play the bagpipes. It was tender and emotional, yet strong and proud, all at the same time. The Dent County Deputies and the Lenox Rural Fire Department staff served as pallbearers and walked slowly by us, behind the Scotsman. They carried JoAnn on her last journey. My salute hid only a few of the tears that slowly crept down my face and when we were given the command "Parade Rest!" even the hardest older cops wiped their eyes.
The minister spoke of ashes to ashes and dust to dust. Up on a hill a Deputy raised a bugle and began playing Taps. The lonely notes cried beautifully on his instrument. The wailing music pierced the air and pulled strong at my heart. More tears.
On the way to the cemetery I remembered hearing someone calling into Dent County Sheriff's Department of a call he had to attend to. He offered his deepest apologies, but he would have to break off from the procession. Even in the deepest grief, duty calls. Also on the radio, Réan and I heard a call to "Lifeline 1". At the time we did not know what that was, but we were just about to find out.
The bugler stopped and there was a deafening silence over the crowd for what seemed like a long time. Off in the distance, I heard a faint whirring sound and from over the horizon flew a large metal bird. It was a rescue helicopter that had "Lifeline 1" painted on each side. It flew in low as if to not disrupt our solemn occasion. "Lifeline 1" stopped at the edge of the crowd and hovered. I thought for a moment that it looked as if an angel had come to take JoAnn home to God. It hovered there motionless watching over us as it picked up its passenger in the air and gave JoAnn a moment to say her goodbyes. Suddenly, it tilted its nose towards us in salute, banked to the left and flew off over the tree line as swiftly as it had come. In moments, the whirring sound had faded into the silence of the crowd again. My breath faded in awe.
We all stood in the quiet. I looked towards the hill where the bugler had stood. Alone stood a Dent County Sheriff's Department patrol car. A Deputy walked to it and turned the radio onto the PA system. Over the silence of the probable 400 people was heard:
"Dent County 611…
Dent County 611…
Dent County 611…
…Unable to Respond"
The dispatcher through hard fought tears then told of the event:
"Dent County 611 JoAnn Barnes answered her last call on December 9, 2002. Now she is going home.
Dent County 611…end of watch."
The bagpipes played Amazing Grace. I thought I had just a few tears left and that the Scotsman had pulled them out, but even as I write this I am incapable of holding them back.
"Funeral Detail: Dismissed" was the order and I walked to Réan in the crowd and we held each other close.
We walked to Sheriff Wofford. I presented my hand to shake his and told him it had been an honor to be there. He took my hand and pulled me in close with an embrace of true appreciation. The pride of his profession and in his officers shown strong on his face.
As we walked back to the Suburban, I told Réan how much true honor I felt to be there...the honor to get to know my sister and the honor to share in the grief of her friends and this community.
Later as we talked, I thanked her for reminding me how important it had been for us to go. I hope I have so many that care enough to come when it is my time to return home.
Thank you JoAnn Barnes for your endless compassion and the great pride YOU gave to our profession.
Jeffry M. Campbell
Sunrise Beach Police Department
Assistant Chief of Police 775
Morgan County Sheriff's Department
Wife of Jeffry M. Campbell, Law Enforcement Officer
Jeffry M. Campbell, Assist. Chief
Sunrise Beach Police Dept.
Percival Clinton Barnes (1933 - 1995)*
Created by: Dianne
Record added: Nov 04, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial# 8058077