Bloods gang member gunned down in park

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Bloods gang member gunned down in park

Unread postby lb516 » April 3rd, 2004, 6:25 pm

Bloods gang member gunned down in park

Staff Writer

TRENTON - A member of the Bloods gang was shot once in the face and killed in Sonny Vereen Memorial Park early yesterday morning.

But police say they have found no link between Sean Barr's gang membership and his slaying, and his family and friends insist there is none.

Nonetheless, family friend Tonya Adams, who said Barr, 21, was "like a son," urged police to swiftly arrest the killer to reduce the likelihood of a violent response.

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"They need to find who did this before it gets worse," Adams said, while standing near a bed-sheet memorial for Barr that had been unfurled on Perry Street by his friends. "He was someone important. He kept the peace around here."

Barr's nickname, "Denver Lane" was written in large red letters on the white memorial sheet, which also was covered with magic-marker statements. "East to the West. Blood. Blood. 1 Love," one read.

Denver Lane is a Bloods gang in Los Angeles, according to the Web site.

Barr was shot once in the face at 1:15 a.m. and pronounced dead at the scene, police spokesman Lt. Joseph Juniak said. Several people living near the park reported hearing an argument prior to the shooting, he said. Juniak said police knew of Barr's links to the Bloods, but "it is too early to determine if the shooting was, in fact, gang related or not."

Juniak said Barr had been arrested on a disorderly persons charge but had no serious crimes on his record.

Posing in front of Barr's memorial sheet, several red-clad young men flashed gang signs for a friend photographing them with a disposable camera.

"We're going to smoke some (marijuana) and drink some bottles for him tonight," one said.

Barr's grandmother and two aunts watched from the curb. They described Barr as a generous man more likely to defuse a fight than start one.

"He wasn't a troublemaker," said his grandmother, Patricia Nixon. "He had a good head on his shoulders. He didn't create fights, but he didn't back down from anyone."

"They took a part of us away," said Michelle Barr, an aunt. "We loved him a lot. It was a senseless killing. (Gangs) didn't have anything to do with it. We lost him for no reason."

Barr had been staying sporadically with another aunt, Mary Leggett, on Poplar Street, around the block from the park where he was killed.

Leggett said she was aware Barr was a Blood, but knew little about what that entailed. She said Barr described the gang as "family," and she respected his dedication to them.

"He believed in belonging to his family," she said. "He didn't bother anybody. He did what he had to do. He had a heart."

Barr was the second man found shot in the head near the park in as many months. Steven Tarver, 37, of Hamilton was found dead with two gunshot wounds to the head in nearby Ginder Alley on Feb. 23.

No arrest has been made in the Tarver shooting. Juniak said police had not linked the crimes, but are investigating the possibility.

Barr's murder was the fourth in the city this year.

Most of the young men posing in front of Barr's Perry Street memorial were teenagers.

Adams said they had looked up to the older Barr. Leggett said Barr had served in the Navy and was planning to re-enlist.

"This ain't no gang-related thing, man," said a red-bandanna-wearing friend of Barr's who would only identify himself as "L." Asked who would kill his friend, he said, "I don't know why. People are animals these days."

Barr's friends gave conflicting accounts of his gang membership. Some denied he was a Blood. Others said he was, but took issue with defining the Bloods as a gang, preferring the term "organization."

One friend, who would only give a nickname, "Pain," said Barr was a member of the United Blood Nation. "Pain" said he was a member, too. He said the group was formed years ago to "protect" the community.

Adams said the Bloods "stop things from happening out here that police can't stop from happening."

Barr worked as a security guard at The Times for a few months last year, said Capt. Edward Samuels, senior security guard for this newspaper. "He was nice," Samuels recalled. "Very nice. Twenty-one years of age. He didn't get to live his life yet."

Leggett said she thought her nephew would want his Blood affiliation publicized. "What the gang means to him was a good thing," she said.

Adams said Barr will be missed and his character should draw more attention than his gang membership.

"God don't see colors," she said. "He don't care about things like that. (Sean Barr) had a good heart."

The investigation is being conducted by the police Criminal Investigation Bureau with help from the Criminal Intelligence Unit. Juniak urged anyone with information to call the confidential police tip line at (609) 989-3663. (

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