Two dead from Lions Park murder-suicide

Man who was sleeping in park tells of meeting couple just before apparent murder-suicide SANDUSKY The
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010


Man who was sleeping in park tells of meeting couple just before apparent murder-suicide


The Rev. Michael Myers was communing with God at 10:30 p.m. in the quiet of Lions Park when the sound of gunshots broke the peace of his prayer.

Myers, who said he has been sleeping in the park for the week, had left his blanket to sit on a park bench when he heard the first shot.

A police officer approached two people sitting near the shoreline and words were exchanged just before Larry Barnett Jr., 25, pulled out a firearm and shot Rachelle Baskey, 24, in the head before shooting himself in the head.

"As he (the officer) walked up to the waters edge of Sandusky Bay there in the park, he saw the couple and he must have seen the weapon because he told the man to put the weapon down," said Myers, who said he saw the shooting from afar.

"It was in that exchange of words, when he ordered the man to put the weapon down, I heard three gun shots."

The apparent murder suicide of the couple, who police said were recently unemployed and possibly homeless, leaves many questions unanswered.

A family reunion took place in Lion's Park Saturday afternoon and children played on playground equipment while others ran in grass near the bay.

At the time of the shooting, the officer was able to respond quickly to the first shot Myers heard because he had already been called to the park by a concerned neighbor who feared Myers would catch cold in the rain.

Just hours before, Myers spoke with the couple who came up behind his blanket while he was resting and asked him if he was sleeping in the park.

"A couple came behind me, one was a black man and one was a white lady," Myers said. " I told the man I was communing with the Lord and that was basically all they said at that point in time."

Several minutes later the couple returned. This time Barnett knelt beside Myers, opening his wallet to hand Myers some money.

"I said I'm not out here for that," Myers recalled. "I said I have much riches in Jesus Christ. I wished those folks a nice evening and I said God bless you and they got up and left. I shook his hand as a matter of fact."

A while later Myers' legs began to cramp so he got up and moved to a park bench, where he was a short time later when heard the first shot.

Following the officer's approach of the couple and the sound of gunfire, "the officer said, 'Shots fired,'" Myer said.

Additional officers quickly arrived after that radio call, he said.

In the interim the first officer rendered medical assistance while calling for paramedics.

Barnett and Baskey died hours later at Firelands Regional Medical Center.

"Later on as I gave my statement to the police I asked if the lady had been wearing a brown tank top and he said yes. And, I asked if the man was black and the officer said yes, so I knew it was the couple I had had the encounter with just a little while before," Myers said.


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