Friends of murder-suicide survivor speak out


CENTERTON, Ark. (KNWA) — Days after a murder-suicide left four people dead in Gravette, friends of the girl whose parents and brothers died are accepting donations to help her.

“She came her junior year, my sophomore year,” said Adrienne Gray, who said Sumer Barnes is her best friend. “She was in my history class, and we kind of just hit it off, and we’ve been really close ever since.”

Gray said Sumer Barnes was at work when her father, Justin Barnes, shot her brothers, Levi and Casey, and her mother, Inga, before turning the .22-caliber handgun on himself. She said she was aware of the situation before her friend was.

“She’s taking it as best she can. for sure,” Gray said. “We go day to day.”

Sumer Barnes graduated from LifeWay Christian in May. Classmates said they were stunned that a family they called “tight-knit” and “God-fearing” would go through what it did.

“Bad things happen to good people,” said Ethan Elliott, who was in the drama department with Sumer Barnes. “She’s one of the sweetest, possibly the sweetest people I know. She’s incredibly personable, kind, amazing.”

Luke Bowers is LifeWay Christian’s head of school, and he said people started reaching out the evening of the incident. He said the community is doing what it can to help out.

“We want to do that through gift cards…we did start a GoFundMe page, ‘Support for Sumer,'” Bowers said. “I think it already has over $3,000.”

Bowers said LifeWay’s office will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for people who want to donate gift cards that will be given to Sumer Barnes. Gray said her friend is appreciative of all the support.

“I know that she’s really thankful for it, even things that she’s said to me,” Gray said. “It’s amazing how all these people are reaching out to her to help her. It just gives her one less thing that she has to worry about.”

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