Erik B. Barnett, a 25-year-old Pineville resident, shot and killed himself inside of a Kentucky courthouse after a judge ordered that he be taken into custody following his Wednesday morning court appearance.
According to Kentucky State Police, a preliminary investigation into the man’s death has revealed that he was in the process of being transported to jail via an elevator in the court house basement when he knocked the bailiff to the ground, took his weapon and then turned the weapon on himself.
Trooper Shane Jacobs of the Kentucky Highway Patrol was quoted by WBIR as having said that “Mr. Barnett was not handcuffed” when the incident took place, which is why he was able to grab the bailiff’s gun.
Anytime you’re talking about a court house, an individual inside for court, you’ve got to be ready for these situations. And for some reason Mr. Barnett was not handcuffed, and this incident took place
Why Barnett was not immediately placed in handcuffs after he was taken into custody is presently under investigation.
The preliminary investigation conducted by state police indicates that Mr. Barnett suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound while he was in the elevator and that he was pronounced dead at the scene by Bell County Coroner Jay Steele.
Barnett’s body was transported to the State Medical Examiner’s Office located in Frankfort. His autopsy is scheduled for August 27, 2015.
Kentucky State Police Detective Jake Wilson and the Bell County Sheriff’s Department are presently investigating the incident.
Local law enforcement was notified of the incident around 10:55 a.m. on Wednesday when Bell County Sheriff Mitch Williams called in and reported the courthouse shooting.
The bailiff involved in the deadly altercation was not injured in the incident and subsequently required no medical attention.
WBIR reports that the recently deceased was on his way back to jail after having failed a drug test, however, authorities have not disclosed the nature of the drug test nor its results.
Earlier this year, 72-year-old Mark Ward Faville killed himself in a Virginia courthouse holding room shortly after he was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the death of his wife.