Officer, mother of 5 killed in highway crash. Her life mattered.

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Georgia – A Dallas, Georgia deputy was killed on January 3oth after losing control of her SUV while driving on the interstate. 

Cartersville Police Department Officer Sara Beth Barnes was just 32-years-old.

Officer, mother of 5 killed in highway crash. Her life mattered.
Cartersville Police Department Officer Sara Beth Barnes

 

Investigators say that Officer Barnes was off-duty at the time of the crash. According to statements from the agency, Barnes was traveling eastbound on Highway 6 in her Kia Sorrento around 5:30 p.m. last Thursday. 

They say that Barnes suddenly lost control of her vehicle, swerved into the median, overcorrected, then shot across the center divider into oncoming westbound traffic. 

Police say Officer Barnes landed right in the path of a Jeep Renegade, which slammed into the passenger side of her vehicle. A Ford Focus, also traveling westbound, then crashed into the back of the Jeep, officials say.

The wounded officer and the elderly driver of the Ford sedan were immediately rushed to the hospital, but it was too late. Officer Barnes was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The condition of the Jeep and Ford drivers was not immediately available.

 

The Cartersville Police Department issued a statement after the tragedy. 

“The Cartersville Police Department wishes to express its deepest condolences to the family of Officer Sarah Beth Barnes, Badge # 189,” CPD wrote in a post on Facebook. “Officer Barnes was a valuable member of our team, community, and she will be sorely missed. Please keep Officer Barnes’ family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

“The Cartersville Police Department wishes to express its deepest condolences to the family of Officer Sarah Beth…

Posted by Cartersville Police Department on Friday, January 31, 2020

 

As more reports surface about the fallen officer, it’s becoming more clear how incredible her life was. Barnes is a mother of five, and has served with the CPD for the last two years. In addition to her work on patrol, Barnes also picks up extra shifts at local schools as a school resource officer. Prior to her work in law enforcement, Barnes was a proud member of the U.S. Navy Reserves.

She was remembered fondly by those who worked alongside her. 

“Her care for our students and staff was evident in the way she always took the time to get to know them,” said school district spokesperson Cheree Dye. “Her friendly demeanor and dedication to the security of our schools provided our students with an exceptional representation of a law enforcement officer. Her presence will be deeply missed in our primary and elementary school community.”

Her obituary painted a picture of a dedicated servant who loved her friends, family and country.

“In her short time on earth, Sarah served her community and her country,” her obituary read. “She made a difference in the lives of others and was committed to a life in service of others. Sarah was passionate and lived life fully. She had a colorful personality, was fun to be with and was devoted to her family.”

Barnes is survived by her husband, Steve, as well as her five children, Alexis, Grace, Hayleigh, Skylar, and Braden.

She was laid to rest on Monday. 

Out west, a California deputy is lucky to be alive after becoming the target of an unprovoked ambush.

According to a report from the Mercury News, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Deputy Sukhdeep Gill was on patrol Friday evening when he encountered his brush with death. 

Officials say that Gill was patrolling the Uvas Reservoir area when he got out of his cruiser to look around. Gill says that as he was outside his SUV, he noticed a car approaching his position. 

But as the car drew closer, all of a sudden the headlights cut off. The next thing he knew, Gill was taking fire. According to reports, the gunman fired four shots, with one of the rounds striking the deputy in the chest. 

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In an incredible stroke of luck, the bullet struck Gill’s body cam, which was backed by his body armor, preventing the round from entering his chest and potentially killing him. 

Reacting quickly, Gill reportedly squeezed off two rounds from his service weapon before calling, “Shots fired! Shots fired!” over the radio. 

Dispatchers say the next few minutes only brought silence from Gill’s end of the radio, prompting authorities to fear the worst. But the deputy had reportedly stumbled and fallen down an embankment during the shootout. After a few moments, they say he was able to climb his way back up to the road and made contact with the station again. 

“I think I was hit,” Gill can be heard saying.

 

Gill was transported to the hospital, where he was treated for his injuries. His department says he’s lucky to be alive, and if it wasn’t for the body cam and vest, the encounter might’ve been his last.

Sheriff Laurie Smith described the shooting as an “unprovoked attack” during a press conference. 

“It was an ambush,” Smith said. “Any one of those rounds could have hit him anywhere. He was very brave under fire.”

During the press briefing, Smith showed an image of the wounded deputy’s body-worn camera. It clearly shows the point of impact from the fired round – almost dead center. 

Officer, mother of 5 killed in highway crash. Her life mattered.
Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office

 

Another photo showed what appeared to be three additional bullet holes in the rear of his squad car.

Gill considers himself extremely lucky to be walking away from the incident relatively unharmed. 

“This was absolutely a close call,” Lt. Brendan Omori said. “This was a targeted attack.”

Police are still desperately looking for the suspect who attempted to take the deputy’s life in the targeted shooting. While they have no suspects, their strongest lead is a description of the vehicle, which was described as a silver 2000s-era sedan, most likely a Honda.

They’re asking anyone with any information to contact the sheriff’s office. 

“We’ll follow up every lead,” Smith said. “We want to bring the person or persons to justice.”

Officer, mother of 5 killed in highway crash. Her life mattered.
Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office

 

Deputy Gill is now home recovering with his family at his side. It’s not clear whether or not his return fire struck the suspect or their vehicle. 

“Given the gravity of the situation, he’s doing quite well,” he said.

Officials say once the suspect is apprehended, they will face premeditated attempted murder charges. Additionally, investigators are looking into whether the attack was motivated by hate, as Gill is a practicing Sikh and wears a turban. 

“We support him, and our department supports him,” Omori said. “It’s unknown whether it’s a hate crime or a crime of opportunity against law enforcement.”

Mercury News wrote that anyone with information about the shooting can contact the Sheriff’s Office at 408-808-4500, or  leave an anonymous tip at 408-808-4431.

 


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