LOUDON COUNTY, TN – The Loudon County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of one of their deputies over the weekend.
In a Facebook post, the department announced the passing of Corrections Deputy Victor Haynes.
LOUDON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE MOURNING LOSS OF CORRECTIONS DEPUTY https://t.co/8Zc3qzHyEh
— 105.7 News (@1057News) July 11, 2020
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Officer Ian Andrew Barnhart of the Oskaloosa Police Department (OPD) was determined to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on June 18, according to a press release published by the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).
The body of the 23-year-old Officer was discovered after a late-night welfare check by fellow OPD officers at his residence in the 100-block of College Avenue. The body of Officer Barnhart was taken to the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny for an official Autopsy.
According to the MCSO, preliminary investigation determined that Barnhart “passed away as a result of a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.”
Dewayne Walter, Barnhart’s uncle, gave an interview with KCWI in which he described his nephew as a “happy-go-lucky kid” while growing up, and a “multi-sport athlete” in high school. Walter went on to say that Barnhart had always wanted to be a police officer, and that he was studying Criminal Justice at community college when he was sworn in to the OPD in 2018.
“There’s a lot of questions that they’re never going to get answers to, and probably the hardest thing right now for them is not being able to have that closure.”
The OPD released a statement on Facebook saying that they were “heart-broken as a Department.”
Never forget officer down. Oskaloosa Police Department (OPD) Officer Ian Andrew Barnhart died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on 18Jun20. @cov_Gretchen @Beard_Vet @TJHproject @GLFOP @WhitehallPD @ColumbusPolice pic.twitter.com/XTr0l0H3QV
— proud veteran from a family of soldiers🇺🇸 (@willo1246) July 11, 2020
Officer Barnhart’s death comes in the wake of massive backlash against police all across the country.
There is a fear that this added pressure will cause an uptick in the already very high suicide rate of police officers in America.
According to Blue H.E.L.P, a non-profit that tracks police suicides, 228 officers died as a result of suicide in 2019. Alternatively, 132 officers were killed in the line of duty in 2019.
Barnhart’s uncle encouraged those experiencing difficulty to reach out for help:
“Talk to somebody. You can’t reiterate that enough. If you’re having issues, no matter who it is, call. Talk to somebody.”
We thank the Iowa State Police Association and stand with the Oskaloosa Police Department to make sure no officer is ever alone. Please #MakeTheCall 1-800-COPLINE #CopLine #Resiliency #NoStigma #NoJudgement #Confidential #StopSuicide #EndSuicide #LawEnforcement #EndSuicide pic.twitter.com/lpg79XZSFT
— COPLINE (@COPLINE3) June 24, 2020
According to his obituary, Officer Barnhart leaves behind parents, stepparents, grandparents, and siblings. Additionally, he is survived by many extended family members and friends.
If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, please reach out or encourage them to do so. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help, it’s a sign of strength.
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