OSKALOOSA, IA – 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.
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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.
That was the number of hate e-mails yesterday alone. The number that I stopped counting at.
You know who wished me “Happy Father’s Day”? My wife and kids. Cops across the country.
Not most of my immediate family or extended family. Or old friends.
That’s because they tell me I’m on the “wrong side of history”.
Or, as I like to put it, the right side of the Thin Blue Line.
I’m a “bootlicker”, a “Nazi apologist” and “scum bucket. Why? Because I’m not afraid to say that I believe the overwhelming majority of cops are good people.
Because I actually have a brain…and know how to use it. Because I don’t cave to the mob mentality and march in the streets, desperate for attention and hopeful that by carrying a sign I’ll somehow be relevant in this world.
The marketing agency I own – The Silent Partner Marketing – has come under unbelievable attack because we unapologetically support law enforcement.
Someone was offended that I said anyone who had a problem with it can “kiss my ass”. Apparently that’s offensive, but throwing bricks through windows, destroying monuments and torching police cars after looting and vandalizing stores somehow isn’t offensive.
And yes, for the record, I did NOT say they can “kiss my ass”. I said they can “kiss my red, white and blue ass”. Just to make sure we’re clear about things.
In the meantime, we’ve faced rising cyber attacks and threats at Law Enforcement Today. We’ve been told to shut down our website or we’ll “pay for it”.
Our response? We’ve doubled down.
We are bringing in DOZENS of new writers – most of whom are active, retired or wounded police officers… along with their wives and children.
With all of that being said, we’ve chosen to mask their identities for now.
That decision came earlier this month, after I got the call from one of my writers:
“I’m so sorry I went dark tonight and couldn’t turn any more pieces. Someone showed up at my house and started screaming ‘fuck the police’ repeatedly while my kids were outside playing.”
It was a rough night for her. She had just gotten some of the most hateful emails I’ve ever seen – all while reporting on the horror. All while her husband was on duty.
By the way, she’s a former cop.
She’s not the only one. Many of our writers have gotten the emails and the personal messages through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to our writers.
“Fuck you – I hope you die.”
“Cops are pigs and we’re going to burn them in a roast.”
“We’re going to rape your wives.”
Every day, I’m getting literally hundreds of messages sent to me from cops across the country – and their supporters.
Screenshots of horrific threats being made to them.
Pictures of mutilations.
Destroyed vehicles. Vandalized homes. Torched businesses.
And so for now, to keep them safe, we’re not putting author names on articles.
But I want to be crystal clear – we’re NOT backing down. As a matter of fact.. we’re stepping up. And we’re hoping that you’ll help.
Last year, we quietly launched a platform called LET Unity. We created the home for some amazing video content because we saw the voices of law enforcement becoming more and more censored online. Social media was deleting videos of ours highlighting wounded officers for being “offensive”.
It was throttling the reach of stories highlighting widows and parents who lost their kids in the line of duty.
We were getting flagged for stories about police officers because we refuse to reveal our sources.
And so today… I want to ask you to consider joining the fight in one of two different ways.
The first is to consider a membership at LET Unity. It’s only $7 a month or $75 a year (you’ll get some bonus gifts). You’ll get access to some amazing video interviews with heroes that you won’t find anywhere else. And what’s even better is that we use that revenue to continue to hire active and retired officers and supporters to help give a much needed voice to those who hold the Thin Blue Line.
The second is simply to ask for your voice.
We understand that money is tight for everyone right now. So if you can’t subscribe right now… help us ensure our content gets in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
Social media censors it… so make sure you follow Law Enforcement Today on Facebook.
Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing.
Share our stories with your friends and family if they resonate with you.
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And finally… don’t be afraid to stand up. Remember – the silent majority is behind law enforcement… and it’s the whining, entitled individuals desperate for attention who are screaming “abolish the police”.
It won’t be easy – but you’re not alone. You have an entire family behind you… praying for you, loving on you and supporting you.
As for the rest of them? They can all kiss our red, white and blue asses.