John Barnes, who was identified as the school resource officer who was critically wounded in the Santa Fe High School mass shooting, is a retired Houston police detective known for his tireless work on Internet crimes against children.
“Just left @utmbhealth Galveston. On behalf of @SantaFeISD Police Officer John Barnes family, thank you for your prayers. John is hanging in there & the family is very hopeful. They hope to have additional information released shortly,” the Houston Police Chief wrote on Twitter.
Barnes was one of 10 people injured. Ten people died in the attack when the shooter burst into an art class at the Texas school. The deceased victims include a teacher and nine students. The accused shooter was named as Dimitrios Pagoutzsis, a 17-year-old student at the school. Barnes, 49, the school resource officer, confronted the shooter, according to Fox News, and he had to be resuscitated before going into surgery. He was the most critically injured, Fox reported.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Barnes Is a Recently Retired Houston Police Detective
John Barnes recently left a position with the Houston Police Department and took a job at Santa Fe High School, which is located about 30 miles south of Houston, Texas. The Houston police chief wrote, “Retired HPD SPO John Barnes, 49, was sworn in in May 1995 & retired Jan 2018. He began his career at SW Patrol and began working in investigations in 2005. John is known for his tireless work in Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force.”
“UTMB Hospital officials confirm John Barnes is their adult male patient listed in critical condition after Santa Fe High School shooting. Houston Police Department union leaders have said Barnes is a recently retired HPD detective who went to work for Santa Fe ISD police,” wrote reporter Jacob Carpenter.
“He was bleeding out and his blood pressure was very low, so the immediate issue was to resuscitate him and give him enough blood product to get his blood pressure up and take him straight to the OR,” a surgeon told 12NewsNow.
2. Barnes Is ‘Hanging in There’ But Was Critically Wounded, the Police Chief Says
Barnes was critically wounded in the attack, but the Houston police chief, Art Acevedo, wrote that there is hope. “Just left @utmbhealth Galveston. On behalf of @SantaFeISD Police Officer John Barnes family, thank you for your prayers. John is hanging in there & the family is very hopeful. They hope to have additional information released shortly,” Acevedo wrote.
According to Natalie Hee, of Fox26 Houston, on the afternoon of May 18, 2018, “Hospital officials say officer John Barnes still in operating room. Went in around 9:20am and had been there since. Sustained gunshot wound to elbow— possibly in artery & bone in arm. 3 other patients here, 4 total including officer.”
“Santa Fe Police Officer John Barnes, a retired Houston police officer, was transported to the hospital, by Life Flight, with a gunshot wound to his upper arm. He has lost a lot of blood and is in critical condition, according to hospital staff. As of noon, he was still undergoing surgery. Doctors say they have no idea how long the surgery will take,” KVUE-TV reported.
3. People Labeled John Barnes a ‘Hero’ & He’s Married to an Assistant Principal
Barnes’ wife, Ashley, is an assistant principal. She spoke about the ordeal to The Houston Chronicle. They are the parents of two children age 10 and 14.
“John is not a hero from Friday,” she said to the newspaper, adding that her husband was shot in the elbow. “John has been a hero every day he put on a police uniform.” He “coded” twice and is still recovering but has begun shaking his head yes or no in response to questions, according to The Chronicle.
The school resource officer in the Parkland shooting was criticized for not rushing into the school. However, Barnes, who took a bullet during the mayhem, was called a hero by people on social media.
The specific details of Barnes’ encounter with the gunman have not yet been described by authorities, but his wife told the newspaper he “rushed” into the school with other officers to confront the shooter. Posts on Facebook also indicated that Barnes is married with children. “Folks, PLEASE pray for this couple and their precious children. This is my cousin’s daughter and son-in-law, Ashley and John Barnes. John is the police officer shot in the school shooting in Santa Fe, TX.,” one woman wrote, sharing a photo.
Another woman wrote, “This is our Neighboor around the corner. Please pray for him and his family as well with all the victims and kids involved.”
4. The Santa Fe Police Chief Pulled Barnes to Safety
It was the police chief of the Santa Fe, Texas police department who pulled John Barnes to safety, authorities revealed in a news conference. That detail came from Lieutenant Governor of Texas Dan Patrick who said that police chief was going to the school when gunfire rang out.
The chief pulled a wounded Barnes to safety and opened up on the suspect while dragging Barnes away from harm.
Steven McCraw, from the Texas state troopers, said in the news conference, “When you get these calls, every police officer, no matter where you are, has to immediately engage the active shooter. Period. There’s no alternative. Because every second means someone else is going to die. In this situation we had that.”
5. The Shooter Left Behind Journals & Posted a ‘Born to Kill’ T-shirt on Facebook
The governor released further details of the attack in a news conference. “We also know information already that the shooter has information contained in journals on his computer and his cell phone that he said that not only did he want to commit the shooting, but he wanted to commit suicide after the shooting,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
The suspect’s Facebook page contained a photo a T-shirt saying “born to kill,” and pipe bombs and pressure cookers were also found by authorities, explosives that they believe were assembled by the shooter in a trailer.