One dead in deputy-involved shooting in Guilford County

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — A Guilford County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man who pointed a gun at officers during a standoff, according to Sheriff B.J. Barnes.

Authorities said that deputies responded to a report of a domestic disturbance between a husband and wife at 536 Cynthia Road shortly before 3 p.m. Sunday.

The caller said her husband, 45-year-old Ray Junior Barber, had a gun and at least one shot had already been fired.

Officials said the suspect barricaded himself in a small shed behind his Guilford County home.

Deputies started negotiating with the suspect over the phone, but his phone battery died, according to officials.

Deputies were trying to give him another phone and asked him to get it, Barnes said. As he was walking toward his home, officers confronted him and he allegedly pointed a gun at two officers.

The suspect was shot and taken to Moses Cone Hospital where he was pronounced dead around 6:45 p.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Barnes said it is “never a good day when we have to take someone’s life.”

FOX8’s Michael Spears spoke to a neighbor Monday morning who knew the suspect’s family for years. He said the suspect was a great man.

The S.B.I. is handling the investigation. The officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave.

62 comments

  • Leslie

    All of y’all need to watch your mouth about this guy I know the guy was shot and he is NO Thug he was a great guy but everyone has problems in their life so until you know this person you to keep your mouth close and mind your own fking business

    • Radosh

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  • Bev

    surely something besides deadly force could have been used…riot police with thousands charging them with God only knows what weapons use rubberbullets or there are places to shoot that merely shock the perp, for God’s sake there are tranq.guns…

    • targetsacquired

      Thats not how it works….its called be a dumbass die like a dumbass.
      Point a gun at a cop and you will get shot 99% of the time…Im sure Mr Barber wasnt using non lethal rounds…and had he pointed a gun at me, the results would be the same…

    • l337g33k

      Are you seriously insinuating that cops should use NON lethal force, ergo mace; tazer; “rubber bullets,” on someone who is POINTING A LOADED GUN at them? Tranq guns? Wow. Congrats, you’ve completely dumbfounded me. Keep up the good work living in your magical bubble in this world.

      • triggerhappy

        L337G33K, explain why they shouldn’t use non-lethal force. If it takes the person down without killing him/her, what’s the problem?

      • motherofateenager

        I totally agree with
        l337g33k —– you have be dumbfounded too triggerhappy— SMH what a dumb A** some people can be..still SMH so much to say… but not worth it on people like you.. go back to your bubble.. May this man rest in peace….

      • triggerhappy

        Motherofateenager, what?? If it’s not “worth it” to say anything even though you have “so much to say” then why are you commenting? Go away. SMH at what a dumba** you are.

  • gone,not forgotten.

    Don’t say that about him.. you didn’t know him. I and others are dealing with the loss. Be a little more respectful. God bless you..I’ll miss you RJ.

  • Larry Haver

    I can’t believe with all the news out there to start the day with you have to let us know that and officer is doing their job! I wonder if there was no shooting if you would have wasted your time with this story, I think not!! The public does not need to be informed every time an officer draws his weapon to protect themselves or others. Real nice job Fox8 (Sarcasm).

    • triggerhappy

      Larry, the public absolutely does need to be informed when an officer kills someone. This is not the wild, wild, west; police officers need to be investigated when they use deadly force and they need to be held accountable if it was used without good cause. The police certainly don’t police themselves so the public needs to be kept informed.

      • Larry Haver

        I understand your point but let me ask you this, by knowing about this incident how has it changed your daily routine today? By the media making stories like these headlines and “informing” us won’t change the outcome. This has nothing to do with the Wild West because the police have internal investigations that believe it or not whether you and I know about the incident won’t change their findings. I don’t mean to come across as synical, but if you watch their demeanor when reporting stories like these it’s almost as if they are getting a rush from it, I’m just glad it wasn’t the officer on the other end of the bullet.

      • triggerhappy

        I’m cynical, as well, and don’t believe the police do real investigations of these incidents in most cases. However, there’s at least a chance, as slim as it may be, that a fair and just investigation will occur if the public is well aware of what happened. I don’t believe there would be a snowball’s chance in hell of any kind of real investigation if these killings were kept secret from the public.

  • hans

    Actually a police officers job is to apprehend the criminals. I agree that it’s important for them to get home safe but they choose the job so if safety is the main importance then they are in the wrong line of work. Although as far as I can tell from what I’ve seen the officer didn’t do anything wrong. If someone points a gun at me I’m shooting bottom line don’t care whether I’m in the right or wrong.

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    • Marie Watkins Family friend

      the officers are on leave bc tht is not what they are supposed to do. they shot him in the arm that is holding the gun. or in the knee so he falls down and cnt aim as fast. there are many ways they could have went about this without killing him.

    • Dauntless

      No, the officers are on leave because that’s protocol for every use of deadly force. If you’re gonna throw accusations around, know what you’re talking about!

    • Chucky

      @Marie Watkins Family friend, you have no clue as to what you are talking about. Any time an officer shots someone, the officer is suspended and the SBI is called in to investigate. Look it up, it happens each and every time someone is shot by an officer.

  • RIP RJ

    Your a dumbass you didn’t know him RJ was a great person he deserves respect. RJ has family and friends he was NOT a thug until you know someone don’t be so quick to judge them. We lost a friend yesterday.

  • EyezOnYou

    Barber was walking to his home when he was confronted by law enforcement. Had he been allowed to continue walking to his home he might still be here today.

      • Bev

        Barber was suicidal, not a murderer. It does not take a rocket scientist to KNOW what he wanted and the ones there to serve and protect, gave it it him. They need better training in situations like this. It was a cry for help not violence. Seems in the HOURS it took to get him out in the open the professionals could have ascertained this.

  • Joe

    JB, you can’t argue with liberal non thinkers. This is a tragic situation for everyone involved. The officer did what was necessary to survive and had every right to defend himself with deadly force. Once the dust clears the libs will go back to their “reality” TV and enjoy spending taxpayers money.

  • Hobbes

    Sending him a new phone so they could negotiate and then using that to confront him calls into question the actions of the department.

    • l337g33k

      That just means they used an effective strategy. He was a barricaded ARMED subject who had already fired shots. He walked out in to the open, which gave the cops the tactical advantage to take him into custody. He presented deadly force to the cops, and he was met and overcame with their deadly force in response. If he would have made it back to the house do you think he would have given up? Or just barricaded himself once again with most likely access to even more weapons.

      • Chucky

        And a potential hostage… wasn’t his wife in the house and the one who called for assistance to begin with?

  • Brian

    There is just so much hate and anger here. The job of the law enforcement is to serve and protect, and that means that any person that is considered a immediate threat, action has to be taken.
    This doesn’t mean they are gun-crazu vigilantes. It also doesn’t mean Ray Barber was a thug. We should not presume to judge either party. What it means is that a situation reached a critical point, and action, no matter how unfortunate and tragic, had to be taken to ensure the public safety.
    Today, people are heartbroken on both sides. Mr. Barber’s family is experiencing an inconceivable tragedy. The deputies are experiencing emotions we cannot comprehend at the taking of another life. They do not do this casually or lightly. They aren’t out celebrating and having drinks. This isn’t some shoot ‘em up cop movie with one-liners and big bad guys. These are real people dealing with real hurt.
    We should comfort those who need comforting, mourn with those who mourn, and say a prayer for all involved. We should not judge, because we all reach points in our lives when we fall short.

    • Chucky

      Absolutely right. There a several people here who seem to know all of the facts and want to say what should have happened. No one here knows what actually happened or what the state of mind was for any of those involved. I do know that an officer doesn’t take shooting a person lightly. They don’t enjoy it and they hope their whole career that they never have to do it. If one does have to take such an action, they live with it the rest of their life. It is just a really unfortunate situation.

      I pray that RJ’s family and friends find peace and that the officers do too.

    • C-lo

      Glad you said that. That’s the whole story right there. BOTH sides are hurting. I feel for the family; the man obviously had problems, and sometimes even close friends and family don’t realize just how bad someone is hurting inside. I know someone who killed himself a year or two back, and seemed like he was doing great to everyone else. Wouldn’t have suspected a thing. That’s a little off-topic, but anywho, as you implied with your comment, the deputies who fired on the man, resulting in his death, I’m sure they’re not sleeping well tonight. This is something they’ll have to live with for the rest of their lives, knowing that they took someone else’s life in the line of duty. It’s a sad thing on BOTH ends. It’s sad that it happened for many reasons. So far, looking at comments, I haven’t seen anyone who was actually there and saw the event in person make a comment. Nobody knows what actually happened unless they were there. Thanks again for saying what you said.

  • JC364

    I don’t know what kind of man Mr. Barber was but I’m willing to bet he was normally a nice guy. He apparently was emotionally distressed at the time and that will alter everyone’s personality. Speaking as an ex-police officer I can pretty much guess what happened. when Mr. Babber was confronted it probably startled him and he raised his gun at the police officers. The police officer simply reacted to his training and fired. You have to understand these guys are trained to the point that they react to thier training without thought. It’s how they survive. I would bet anything the officer wasn’t even concious of the fact that he pulled the trigger.

    • Angela Moore

      JC364, I did know RJ personally. You are so right he was a nice guy. In fact, one of the nicest. The first to be there to help anyone in need. Unfortunately, there was some kind of emotional distress that no one knew about. I just can not believe he would have done this in for any other reason.

  • pattym

    R I P , prayers for his family and friends. Nobody ever knows what happens in a persons mind and they do things not normally in line with their usual character. I pray for the Deputy also, they NEVER like to take a life but sometimes it may be there only option.

  • Bev

    Joe, I dare say there are FEW liberals with opinions concerning this shooting. I am a strict conservative myself. But I just believe when ANY human life is at risk, it is better to err on the side of caution. There are tranqs that will completely stop an “aggressor”, without killing them…I do understand the thinking that police work is a NEW thing and so we just don’t have the training we need (;-p) to use a less violent means to HELP. Who lives in a fairy tale land (?) Those who believe killing is the only way. Mr Barber was a husband, father, homeowner, hard working individual, this should never have happened.

  • Hi-Power

    Very well said Brian. Law enforcement officers are trained to stop the threat…not shoot to kill, or “wing” in the arms or legs. The target is “center mass”, largest target that will stop the threat. It is not practical (or smart) to use non-lethal force to stop a lethal force situation…many times non-lethal does not work

    And, it would have been crazy and dangerous to let this armed person get back in his house. Was his wife (&/or children) inside? Too few details at this point for those of us who weren’t there to be making blanket statements. My guess is either “Suicide by cop”, or this guy did mean to do harm. Either way, from what is being reported, the Deputies did what they had to do, what they are trained to do, and what we give them the authority to do…protect us & themselves.

  • John B.

    The deputies had a weapon pointed at them by a man intending to use lethal force. They used lethal force to protect themselves and to end the situation. They have families to go home to as well. End of conversation.

    • triggerhappy

      The officers said the man pointed a weapon at them. I don’t take police officers at their word. Show me video evidence and I’ll believe it.

      • Chucky

        The law says a person is innocent until proven guilty… therefore, if your going to allege that the officers murdered him, than the burden of proof is yours… not the deputy’s.

  • Danny

    I know his wife and I met this guy a few times through the company we worked for. thinking of the wife and his daughter at this time. RJ wasn’t a bad man, he was a good friend to my father and my stepmother and if they said hes a good man, then hes a good man, separation isn’t easy I can imagine, I am only 24 and I haven’t had to go through it and I hope I never have too but a nice guy is dead and it could have been prevented. R.I.P RJ

  • Carly ,with Love

    Rj Barber was the most Loved man i know ! He spoke to you with respect not many know respect these days,He was always willing to give the shirt off his back to help .A Loyal God loving man , A protector of all he loved.A man who served his Lord to the fullest . Satan is a liar, he might have won the battle but God won his soul !!!Hes in HEAVEN now!!!!!Please if you have one drop of kindness let this go.Let us who knew and Loved him moan in PEACE
    God says to love one another!

  • A Sad Friend

    Shame on you people for trolling on this story without knowing RJ or the circumstances that led to his death. Truth be told, RJ was one of the most caring and helpful people you’d ever meet. He was an integral part of Thomas Busses and at Kersey Valley. Anyone who knew him would have trusted him. If he wanted to kill someone he could have shot his wife or his daughter. He couldn’t even bring himself to kill himself. He was scared to go get the throw-phone because he was worried the cops were going to jump him. He was scared they were going to take his daughter away from him. Instead of talking him down, which they were on the path to doing, they approached him with weapons drawn. The fate was decided by the two deputies. You simply should not approach an armed suicidal person with weapons. If the deputies were at risk, it was their fault for allowing themselves to be in that situation. There’s also no mention of the time his gun was pointed at them before they opened fire. They were well aware of the situation. The path from his workshop to his house was isolated. None of the many who knew RJ would have thought this would have ever happened. God Bless you RJ. Many will be here to look after your family.

    • Dauntless

      Once you get a barricaded armed subject outside, you don’t let him go into his home to barricade again with who-knows-what weapons. Blame the deputies all you want if it makes you feel better, but they did it right. The decision was the subjects’ to assault deputies with a deadly weapon… And btw, you gonna approach an armed subject WITHOUT a weapon? Let me know how that works out for you.

  • Dauntless

    Very sorry to this man’s family for their loss, but he made the decision to cause a deadly-force encounter. It was not the deputies’ fault. They simply responded to a call for help and appropriately dealt with the threat which was presented. Not hard to pick out the clueless sheep based on some of these comments. Keep on whining and saying, “Baa.” Everybody knows you will wet your pants while trying to dial 911, wishing these brave deputies were there when the wolves come kicking your door in while your children sleep. “Less-lethal” don’t sound so great now, does it?

  • Marie Watkins Family friend

    I believe that there are other ways around killing him. Even if he had shot at them (supposedly) they have bullet proof vests. They have taser guns. they have pepper spray. and all kinds of other things. Also if shooting him was absolutely necessary then they could have shot the gun out of his hand, or shot the arm that the gun was in, or even shot him in the leg rather than kill him. There are many things they could have done to prevent a death on their hands and a family that now has lost someone they loved. This man was a very close friend of my dads. growing up he was always there and his wife and his daughter he was friends with my whole family. he basically was an uncle to me. my dad was the one on the news. This man was an amazing friend, father, husband and some you could talk to about your problems. I remember asking him for advise about my first crush even. He was not a thug no where near it. He did not try to shot his wife. <3 I love you rj, Daddy, phyllis and haley

    • Bev

      Exactly! there is not one person on this earth who can convince me that with all the modern technology at our fingertips this had to be. the police were there for hours…in that time they couldn’t come to the realization that is man was crying for help!!!!?????? there is a big difference between a thug and a hurt confused human being! We should all get our PEACE officers some training in investigation before giving them lethal weapons!

  • RJ's Niece

    I would like to thank the people who know RJ for sticking up for him, keep the prayers coming God knows we need them as his family and friends. His wife and daughter need them the most, everyone is in tilted to their own opinion but like I corrected a lady today you can not go by what you here on the news, yes some of it is right and some is a little off. So the best thing everyone can do is pray for RJ’s wife, daughter, family, and friends. Cause those of us who knew and loved RJ in good and bad times know he would never hurt anyone. Everyone could argue about what could and could not have happened and that different action could of took place, we have all went through the what ifs, but right now just pray for both sides.

    • Chucky

      Well said. Rest assured, there are prayers being said for RJ’s family and friends as well as the deputies. While the public forms opinions and discusses the situation and how it might have been done differently, it does not change the fact that someone lost his life and others have to deal with it.

      Maybe out of this event, something positive can happen.

  • C-lo

    I’ve read all these comments so far. Still waiting to hear from someone who was actually THERE, and not a bunch of yahoo’s speculating. Be honest. All these comments are pure speculation. Blaming the cops, blaming the departed (God rest his soul). I, for one, refuse to blame EITHER party. I may have missed a comment or two, but everything I’ve read was either from the “Peanut Gallery” or the “Monday Night Quarterbacks.” Do you think those deputies are going to sleep well tonight? Or slept well last night? Or tomorrow? That’s something they’ll have to deal with for the rest of their lives, knowing that they took a man’s life. On the other side, the family of the deceased is also suffering with their loss. I think some of these stories just need to have comments disabled, so NO ONE can comment, and everyone can just keep their thoughts to themselves – and more importantly, keep the family from having to read some of the pure trash that people have said. I don’t know the deputies, their families, nor the deceased or his family. Just one person admitting I wasn’t there and don’t know the facts, and sending prayers for ALL involved.

  • willy

    I met him twice, both times when he came to the hospital and my grandmothers funeral to show respect and support my uncle, who was great friends with him. Sad situation all around. R.I.P

  • Sadnewssucks

    Right or wrong, don’t go making judgements about people when you do not know the circumstances of what is going on in their life. Everyone has their own life struggles that some of us can’t even fathom. He was a great person & not a thug as people are portraying him as. I had the pleasure to work with him & he was a genuine guy. I agree, police officers should try to keep from using deadly force at all costs. Yes, I want them to get home safely also, but there are other tactics they could use such as disabling them before killing them.

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