By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — About 100 people gathered Sunday on North Stewart Avenue to remember homicide victim Justin Barnard during a candlelight vigil.
Barnard was shot Thursday night by masked intruders at the North Stewart residence and died shortly after he was transported to the hospital. Family and friends spoke about Barnard, remembering him as a son, brother and father, as well as a hard worker and quick thinker.
“He’s gonna be missed. He’s gonna be remembered,” said Josh Barnard, Justin’s twin brother.
Several people remembered the “twin trick” Justin would play on people with Josh, giving a few people some laughs through the tears Sunday.
“I’m gonna miss him. He was quite a kid,” said Brad Burns, whose kids and other family grew up with Justin, Josh and Jason.
“At times he’s like one of my kids because sometimes he’d be at my house for a week or two. I will say for him, he reminded me of me when I was young. Very, very, very capable young man, as are his brothers. (They) know how to work, very good at what they do and are very expedient upon doing it and can think on the go. There’s not many people like that no more now days,” Burns said.
Friend Chris Nelson and his younger brother grew up with the brothers and remembered Justin as a good friend.
“These boys were good to us. We’ve always hung out,” Nelson said. “I remember these guys fishing on the river with us a bunch. Every summer we’d take off for a week at a time with these kids. These guys were just some great kids to us and I sure am gonna miss Bubba (Justin). He was a good friend. He’ll always be missed.”
“Justin was loved. He was a great guy,” said cousin James Moore. “We all just need to remember how Justin touched us and what he meant to us and we know he’s in a better place.”
Moore also thanked everyone who showed up for the candlelight vigil for supporting their family.
The family is making funeral arrangements through McMahan’s Funeral Home in Noble. Those who would like to donate money for the cost of the funeral can donate money to McMahan’s, Moore said. The family will also be setting up an account at a local bank soon for donations.
Police have arrested four individuals in connection to the shooting, including Jason Harris, Rusty Wooten, Isaiah Walker and Michael Tubby. They were booked into the Cleveland County Justice Center on complaints of first-degree murder and burglary.
Norman police believe the incident started in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night during a dispute between the victim and his girlfriend. According to reports, an assault was believed to have occurred.
Thursday night the ongoing dispute escalated to the shooting and subsequent death of Barnard. Persons associated with the victim’s girlfriend are believed to have come to Norman in retaliation for Wednesday’s alleged assault.
Preliminary investigation revealed three vehicles pulled up next to the residence and several masked men emerged, kicked in the door to the home and shot Barnard in the face with a handgun.
The intruders reportedly took a woman’s wallet and left heading southbound. The woman, who is in her 60s, was also transported to the hospital as a precautionary measure, but was uninjured.
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