CORINTH-HOLDERS — CORRECTION: This story was corrected at 4:14 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, to clarify that deputy Damien King did not shoot Robert Barnes. The Johnston County Sheriff's Office has not released the deputy's name.
The man who was shot and killed by a Johnston County sheriffs deputy after approaching him with a machete early Saturday morning had grabbed the weapon during a fight with his brother, according to a family friend, Chris Hooker, who witnessed the incident.
The fight between Robert Lamont Barnes, 32, and his brother prompted two calls to 911 just before 1 a.m. Saturday, said Hooker.
Robert Barnes was inside a home at 572 Richardson Road when a deputy came to the front door, Hooker said. Barnes answered the door, still armed with the machete.
The deputy took off running, Hooker said.
Hooker said Robert Barnes went after a second deputy at the scene, who fired at Barnes. Robert Barnes kept coming at the deputy, who fired five more shots that all struck Barnes in the upper torso, Hooker said. The Johnston County Sheriffs Office has not released details about the incident, including the names of those involved. Spokeswoman Tammy Amaon said that as soon as deputies arrived, a man approached one of them wielding a machete.
Amaon said the deputy who fired the fatal shots had been placed on administrative leave with pay standard practice for shootings involving law enforcement while the State Bureau of Investigation looks into the incident.
Hooker said he, Robert Barnes and his brother Travis were at one of the Barnes family homes on Richardson Road drinking and playing video games when Robert Barnes wanted to go outside and shoot his rifle. Hooker said he managed to persuade him that it was nearly time to go to bed. Then, he said, a series of words between Travis and Robert Barnes turned into a fistfight.
Robert Barnes retrieved his rifle, but Hooker said he and another family member, Jesse Lee Barnes, 78, managed to wrest the weapon away from him.
He went to get the machete and was swinging it, Hooker said.
The Barnes brothers ended up outside the home, and Robert was swinging the machete at Travis, he said.
Hooker and Jesse Barnes both called 911. Hooker is engaged to a member of the family.
Robert Barnes aunt, Wilma Jean Hocutt, who lives at 562 Richardson Road, said he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, though she wasnt sure how long ago.
Hocutt said the family didnt have any choice but to call 911 when Barnes started swinging the machete.
We wanted them to help, but we didnt want him killed, she said.
News researcher Teresa Leonard contributed to this report.