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'We're missing a part of our family': Indy peacekeeper shot and killed at gas station on Keystone Avenue

john barnett web.png
Posted at 9:53 AM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 19:04:34-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A peacekeeper for the city of Indianapolis was shot and killed at a gas station Saturday night.

“We’re missing a part of our family that was a very vital component and we all have to take a piece in order to fill that in," Dane Nutty, Executive Director of the Indy Public Safety Foundation, said.

John "JB" Barnett, Sr., 45, was shot around 10 p.m. in the 3400 block of North Keystone Avenue, according to the Marion County Coroner's Office.

OPHS Provided

“A lot of the staff responded to the scene, a lot of the staff responded as part of their jobs and then we got them all together yesterday. It was hard. There’s nothing else to say," Office of Public Health and Safety Director, Lauren Rodriguez said.

Making a difference — it’s how those who knew JB said it is what the dad of four strived to do every single day, but family members and colleagues tell WRTV, his work in the community started long before. JB's family shares his passion to help others was a multi-generational effort, including his grandmother and his cousin, who is a fellow peacemaker.

“He created a legacy that will live on. That we will make sure lives on," Rodriguez said.

Family provided

Just on Friday, JB was helping teens through the city's Safe Summer program at Riverside Park. Making others laugh is how so many remember the 45-year-old.

In a tweet, the city's Office of Public Health and Safety said they are remembering Barnett as a comedian who could make everyone laugh and laughed with them.

"One of the most important things to remember about him was his joy—the joy he brought to his children, his friends, his work, and his family," a tweet from OPHS read.

He was an outreach worker and worked with the violence reduction team to help give back, according to OPHS.

According to an incident brief from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, his death is being investigated as a homicide. No arrests have been made.

On Monday, IMPD said it is too early to know exactly what transpired Saturday night at the Phillips 66 gas station, but they are encouraging anyone who has video footage or was a witness to the shooting, to please come forward.

The investigation is still ongoing and being led by Detective Larry Craciunoiu. Anyone with information is asked to call him at 317-327-3475 or email him at

You can read the full statement below:

Last night, we lost a team member. There are no words to describe the pain we are feeling. But here are a few to remember the life of a father, a son, a partner, and a brother:

John “JB” Barnett was a comedian. He could make everyone laugh, and he laughed with them. One of the most important things to remember about him was his joy—the joy he brought to his children, his friends, his work, and his family. JB was a proud man, dedicated to his community. As an outreach worker with our violence reduction team, he continued the mission he always had: to give back. He spent this past Friday night at Riverside Park in typical JB fashion, working with kids to make sure they felt loved and safe. He spent his life making sure he would leave a legacy in the people he helped. Maybe most strongly, this legacy will live on in his children, who were everything to him. Friends and family will make sure they remember how special their dad was. Too often we talk about problems, without talking about solutions. JB was a solution. His life is not in vain, because he changed our city for the better. Today, we are thinking of JB’s children, mother, and family as they navigate this incredibly challenging time. But we also will remember the laughter. The person he was. And the caring soul that he had. We remember JB.
Indianapolis OPHS via Twitter

Cameron Shepherd, the program manager for the violence reduction team, said he spent Friday night with Barnett at Riverside Park.

"This work takes a special kind of person, one that understands it’s truly bigger than yourself," Shepherd said in a tweet. "Last night we lost that kind of person. That kind of MAN."