The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office this evening released a 15-minute video from body cams of two deputies that provides a remarkably vivid, startling look at the officer-involved shooting late last night in Daytona North that left 30-year-old Steven Barneski in serious condition after being hit by several bullets. (See earlier details on the shooting here.)
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting. But the footage leaves almost no doubt that what started as a traffic stop for the execution of an arrest warrant turned with lightning speed into a critical situation as Barneski reached for a firearm from under the car seat, was shot, then turned the gun on himself. In a matter of seconds, deputies who had just fired their weapons in less than a second–three deputies fired what sounded like five shots–just as rapidly ramped down, went into defensive postures, then turned negotiators as they very quickly realized Barneski may be attempting suicide.
The deputies turned negotiators, pleading with Barneski with more clement than aggressive tones, then outright compassionate pleas, to put the gun down and spare his life. He was bleeding but conscious and aware throughout, and apparently in control of his weapon. In essence, the same deputies who almost took Barneski’s life after he threatened theirs sought to save it–and did.
The body cam video footage begins at 11:14 p.m. It’s from that of deputy Kyle Gaddie. By then Barneski’s wife has pulled into the driveway at 6262 Sabal Palm Street. The couple’s car is stopped in front of a house–Barneski’s house–in the dark but for their car’s lights and those of law enforcement, which include a patrol vehicle’s standard red and blue emergency lights immediately behind Barneski’s Toyota. (Other deputies at the scene included David Litchty, Jayed Capella, Jennifer Prevatt and Austin Chewning.)
Three deputies are on the passenger side of the car, a few feet apart from each other, one next to the window, another by the rear door, a third just behind the trunk, as Gaddie walks up to the driver’s side. “Get out of the car,” one deputy says.
“If you don’t get out of the car we’re going to take you out of the car,” another says. The deputies’ tone is firm but not belligerent or particularly loud. A Dog keeps barking not far away. At that point Prevatt’s voice is heard–one of the deputies by the car: “He’s reaching under the seat.”
The deputies then all yell out, “gun! gun! gun!” and a split second later fire at least five gunshots in a quick, simultaneous burst, but just as quickly stop firing as they back up. “Shots fired,” goes the call to dispatch.
A deputy yells out to Barneski’s wife to “get out of the car,” again and again, another tells her, “come to me!” She opens the driver’s side door and complies as a deputy handcuffs her briefly, all the while yelling out that “he’s still moving, he’s still moving!”
“He’s got a gun?” Gaddie asks.
“Yeah, he’s bleeding,” another deputy says. Barneski’s mother appears to be speaking to the deputies from the house. Barneski’s wife asks to go speak with her, but Gaddie is still securing her before he takes her to a patrol car.
“We need rescue,” a deputy says.
A deputy then says something that lends credence to a claim by Sheriff Rick Staly earlier today that Barneski may have been seeking a suicide by cop: “He’s got it to his chin,” the deputy is heard saying in an apparent reference to Barneski’s firearm. “Put the gun down,” a deputy yells. “Put the gun down, bro,” another yells.
“Steven, put the gun down, we’ve got rescue coming to help you, put it down, come on, just put it down, man, we’ve got ’em coming to help you. Put the gun down. You can smoke a cigarette, man, just put the gun down. Steven, put the gun down, man.”
“He’s got it to his chin, man.”
“Yeah, he’s got it to his chin. Put the gun down!”
“Steven, put the gun down, buddy!… we want to help you.”
“It’s not worth it, dude, come on, man, it’s not worth it.” Barneski is speaking, but too faintly to hear. “We will figure that out later, but let’s just put the gun down for now, man. It’s not worth it, dude. Come on. It’s not worth it, man. Come on. Take a second and breathe.”
Others continue to tell him of rescuers, of help. “It’s going to be OK, this is not how this has to end,” another deputy says. “We can help you. We’ve got an ambulance coming but we need you to put the gun out the window.”
Barneski’s mother then tells the deputies he needs help. They ask her to stay back and not distract them. “Steven, I love you,” she yells out. “You’re my child. Please!”
“Don’t do this in front of them man, it’s not worth it.”
“It’s a bullshit warrant man, it’s not a big deal,” another deputy tells him. (Barneski was facing a mere probation violation–he’d gone to a bar and failed a urinalysis, hardly the sort of thing that would result in more than a few days in jail and a judge’s lecture.) By then he had a cigarette in his mouth. The pleading continues from deputies and his mother. He appears to come close to shooting himself. The deputies try different techniques. “What’s up Steven, talk to me.”
Barneski asks for a deputy’s word. The deputies promise him: “You have our word, you’re not going to get hurt.”
“We’re not worried about jail right now Steve, we’re worried about you.” Another deputy asks him where he’s shot. “In the neck,” a deputy says. “We won’t hurt you, we will not hurt you, Steven.” They tell him he’ll be going to the hospital, not jail–if only he put down his gun.
Nearly 10 minutes in, Barneski throws the gun out by the right side of his car.
He puts a cigarette in his mouth. He raises his hand. He nods yes, when a deputy asks him whether he’s able to move, but then puts his hands down and says he can’t move. “Hold on, Steven, hold on, just keep breathing for me, man. Keep talking to me Steven.”
The footage switches to Prevatt’s body cam as deputies secure the firearm then secure Barneski, who seems incapacitated–he can’t move his legs–though at one point he also seems to be swiping through his phone. Deputies have to tell him to put the phone down. Deputies determine he has leg, arm and chest wounds. “We’re going to help you. We didn’t lie to you” a deputy says. “We’re going to help you, man.”
The footage ends. Volusia County’s Air One, the emergency helicopter, landed after Flagler County Fire Rescue personnel administered first aid, and flew Barneski to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach, where he remains.