Cops: Man Fatally Shot Estranged Wife, 4 Others

Tennessee police at burning home where 3 kids died say gunman Gary Barnett also killed himself
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2023 9:00 AM CDT
After a Home Fire, 3 Adults, 3 Kids Found Fatally Shot
Police tape blocks off a home in Sequatchie, Tennessee, on Friday. Six people, including three children, were found dead in the Tennessee home, where police responded to a shooting and arrived to find the residence ablaze on Thursday night, per authorities.   (Ellen Gerst/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)

Six people are dead in Tennessee, including three children, after police responding to a call of gunfire showed up at the scene to find a house on fire. Marion County Sheriff Bo Burnett tells WRCB that the call in Marion County came in around 8:45pm on Thursday, at which point deputies converged upon the home in Sequatchie. The sheriff says after the fire was put out, deputies discovered the six bodies, including that of suspected shooter Gary Barnett, 48; his estranged wife, Regina Barnett; and her adult daughter Britney Perez (also spelled Brittany and Brittnee in other sources), who Burnett says is thought to be the mother of the three deceased children, per NBC News. He notes that Perez was visiting with Regina Barnett when the shooting took place. It's not yet clear how old the children were.

A seventh person who'd been shot three times was found alive at the scene and transported to a local hospital, the sheriff said. Burnett says the incident looks like it started as a domestic dispute and ended up as a murder-suicide. He adds Regina Barnett had had an active restraining order she'd taken out against her spouse about a month ago. Burnett cited the arrest report that led to the protective order, from Gary Barnett's December arrest, in which Regina Barnett said her spouse verbally abused her and threatened to shoot both her and her dog. Regina Barnett also told deputies at the time that her husband kept up to 60 guns in his room and that she feared he'd become intoxicated and shoot her.

The restraining order was in place until July 5, when the case was due to be dismissed if no other issues were reported. Burnett says that Gary Barnett had been the subject of multiple calls to law enforcement in the weeks leading up to Thursday's shootings. The New York Post reports Gary Barnett had also made a series of concerning social media posts in recent months, including putting up a quote on Facebook from a man in Colorado who'd destroyed his town, then shot himself: "I was always willing to be reasonable until I had to be unreasonable. Sometimes reasonable men must do unreasonable things." Per the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the bodies of all the deceased have been sent to Nashville to undergo autopsies. (More shooting stories.)

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