native of Baldwin County completed two tours of Afghanistan, then shot dead as a civilian | Baldwin County Alabama News
BROMLEY, Alabama (WALA) – There’s never a good time for a father to lose a son, but for Amos Barnes, the news of his son’s sudden and violent death weeks before Christmas was a big blow .
Barnes, pastor of St. John Baptist Church in Spanish Fort, said he was worried during Joshua Barnes’ 8.5 years in the military – including stints in Afghanistan. After the 2009 high school graduate Daphne left the military, he said, he never dreamed of receiving a call like the one he received from his daughter at 2 p.m. on December 6. Her son had been shot the night before.
“You always thought that, you know, he would do two tours in Afghanistan and then go back and forth, you know? ” he said. “But that morning was one of the most difficult times I have ever (had) in my life.”
The shooting took place after a bar brawl spilled over into the parking lot of a place called Bar Headquarters in El Paso, near where he was stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas. Police told ABC7 that the shooting followed an altercation between different groups of women. They said someone fired at random, hitting four people. Three of them were injured; Barnes died instantly.
“The way he died was insane,” said Monic Barnes, his stepmother. “And we just want justice for those who took our son’s life.”
She said she had known him since he 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 generous child,” she said. “He always wanted to be the helper. And I believe that’s why he went into the military. He wanted to be of service to this country. Because he saw the need there. He would give you the shirt on his back if you needed it.
Barnes, who worked for CSX for 38 years, said his son worked on generators while in the military and got a job after his service as a civilian contractor doing similar work. Joshua was taking online classes in preparation for his college degree, his father said.
Barnes said he did not know the exact circumstances of the events leading up to the shooting. But he said he couldn’t be prouder of the man Joshua was. He said his son had to fight as soon as he got to work. Born prematurely, he weighed just 1 pound, 14 ounces, Barnes said.
Barnes remembers questioning his son’s decision to join the military right after graduating from high school.
“It kinda blew me away, you know, when he was in high school,” he said. “He just decided he wanted to join the military.”
Barnes added, “I had things planned for him, but he had better things for himself, you know? So I really appreciate it, you know?
Joshua’s death marks the latest in a series of family tragedies. Barnes said his cousin, Dominique Marshall, died in a shooting in 2019 at a house party in Elsanor. And last month, he added, another cousin died in a traffic accident in Bay Minette. Two other family members recently died of illness.
But nothing, says Barnes, compares to the loss of his son.
“It’s the tough time, because, you know, he would call now,” he said. “Pop, what do you need?” What do you want for Christmas? “
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