UPDATE: GRAVETTE, Ark. (KNWA)–The murder-suicide that happened Friday afternoon left the Gravette community stunned. Police released the names of the victims in a Saturday morning press conference.
Capt. Chris Kelley with the Gravette Police Department said the call came into authorities from Justin Barnes, the suspect in the murder-suicide who was found dead at the scene. They identified the bodies as Inga Barnes, Levi Barnes, and Casey Barnes.
“[Inga] was an amazing person. She always said how much she loved Justin and always bragged on their kids and life,” said Tammy Hammontree, a Gravette woman who knew Inga Barnes, in a Facebook message. “She was proud of the life they had together.”
Counselors opened First Christian Church in Gravette for people to come and grieve. Roger Sharp, a guidance counselor for the town’s public schools, said he heard the news from his wife after she’d seen the names in a web article.
“Anytime you have young people involved in it, it always makes things worse,” Sharp said. “This never happens here, so there’s a lot of shock right now.”
Police said they have evidence that leads to a possible motive, but they aren’t releasing that information to the public at this point.
“I just can’t imagine what could’ve happened to cause this,” Hammontree said in a message. “It is definitely a tragedy for all involved, and the community won’t be the same.”
Police release the names of the victims from an apparent murder-suicide that happened Friday afternoon near Gravette.
Police received a called around 2:40 p.m. Friday about a shooting in the 15,000 block of Crossover road.
Once police arrived they found a body outside the home with a gunshot wound and others inside a home. Gravette Police called for Benton County SWAT to assist at the scene.
Police said the call came into authorities from Justin Barnes, the suspect in the murder-suicide who was found dead at the scene.
Police identified the bodies as Inga Barnes, Levi Barnes, and Casey Barnes. Capt. Chris Kelley with the Gravette Police Department said there was one surviving member of the family and she was not present during the time of the shootings.
“A .22 caliber handgun was found to be used at the scene,” Kelley said. “It is unclear at this time who is the owner of the gun.”
As of now, police do not have a motive behind the killings but are continuing to investigate.
During the press conference, Kelley said Justin and Inga were husband and wife while Levi and Casey were their children.
Levi and Casey did not live at the residence.
Police said once SWAT arrived to the scene around 3:30 p.m., they believe Justin took his own life.
All bodies will be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab in Little Rock.
“This is very tragic. A lot of time were a small community here. We all know a lot of people. A lot of us grew up here. It hits close to home whenever something like this happens because a lot of times it’s someone we know personally. The community would more than likely would know them personally. It’s not only going to impact one family it’s going to impact multiple people.”Captain Chris Kelley, Gravette Police Department
Neighbors just down the road say those living in the house were celebrating July 4 by lighting off fireworks, and are shocked to hear that something like this would happen in a tight-knit community. The neighbor also added that his grandchildren would play on this property, and go four-wheeling.