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Baldwin County native made it through two tours in Afghanistan – then got gunned down as civilian | Baldwin County Alabama News


BROMLEY, Ala. (WALA) – There is never a good time for a father to lose a son, but for Amos Barnes, news of his son’s sudden and violent death weeks before Christmas was a gut-punch.

Barnes, pastor of St. John Baptist Church in Spanish Fort, said he worried during Joshua Barnes’ 8½ years in the Army – including stints in Afghanistan. After the 2009 Daphne High School graduate left the military, he said, he never dreamed of getting a call like the once he received from his daughter at 2 p.m. on Dec. 6. His son had been shot to death the night before.

“You always thought that, you know, him doing two tours in Afghanistan and then traveling back and forth, you know?” he said. “But that morning was one of the roughest moments that I ever (had) in my life.”

The shooting occurred after a barroom brawl spilled out into the parking lot at a place called the Headquarters Bar in El Paso, near where he used to be stationed at Fort Bliss in Texas. Police told ABC7 there that the shooting followed an altercation between different groups of women. They said someone fired indiscriminately, hitting four people. Three of them suffered injuries; Barnes died on the spot.

“The way that he died was senseless,” said Monic Barnes, his stepmother. “And we just want justice for the ones that took our son’s life.”

She said she knew him since was 5 and considered herself a mother to him. She said he was very close to her son from a previous marriage, who was a few years younger.

“Joshua was such a sweet and giving child,” she said. “He has always wanted to be one that helped. And I believe that’s why he went to the military. He wanted to be of service to this country. Because he saw the need there. He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.”

Barnes, who worked for CSX for 38 years, said his son worked on generators while he was in the military and got a job after his service as a civilian contractor doing similar work. Joshua was taking online classes toward his college degree, his father said.

Barnes said he does not know the exact circumstances of the events leading up to the shooting. But he said he could not be prouder of the man Joshua was. He said his son had to battle from the moment he arrived in the work. Born premature, he weighed just 1 pound, 14 ounces, Barnes said.

Barnes recalled questioning his son’s decision to join the Army right after graduating from high school.

“It kind of blew my mind, you know, when he was in high school,” he said. “He just decided he wanted to go into the military.”

Added Barnes: “I had things laid out for him, but he had things better for his himself, you know?’ So I really appreciate him, you know?”

Joshua’s death marks the latest in a run of tragedy for the family. Barnes said his cousin, Dominique Marshall, died in a 2019 shooting at a house party in Elsanor. And just last month, he added, another cousin died in a traffic accident in Bay Minette. Two other family members recently died of illness.

But nothing, Barnes said, compares with losing his son.

“This is the rough time, ’cause, you know, he’d be calling now,” he said. “‘Pop, whatcha need? Whatcha want for Christmas?’”

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