Violence at Home, Moments Into the New Year: Shotgun, Knife and Fights Land 2 in Jail
FlaglerLive | January 2, 2014
The very first hours of the new year in Palm Coast were punctured by two separate domestic violence incidents, one of them involving a stabbing, the other involving a shotgun and a knife and unfolding in front of a 14-year-old girl. The confrontations ended with the alleged perpetrators in both incidents at the Flagler County jail.
The first incident took place moments after midnight, as the air was still crackling with New Year fireworks. Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy Frank Gamarra had been dispatched to Bunkerview Drive on reports of a fight between Gray Barrington, 26, and his 23-year-old girlfriend.
Once there, Peter Collier, a 26-year-old witness, told Gamarra that Gray allegedly stabbed him when he—Collier—tried to intervene to keep Gray from lunging at the victim. Collier said he jumped in front of Gray “and was stabbed in the hand, causing a puncture and significant pain to his left hand,” according to Barrington’s arrest report. Collier, the report continues, said that “although he did not seek to pursue criminal charges against Barrington initially, that Barrington was yelling at him and threatening to kill him, his wife, and unborn child. Mr. Collier stated that Barrington threatened to rape his wife as well.”
Describing the confrontation between Gray and his girlfriend, Collier said he saw Gray enter a Bunkerview Drive home and forcibly remove the 23-year-old woman from the house and drag her about 50 yards, according to Gray’s arrest report, before allegedly throwing her in a van, closing the door and preventing her from leaving. The witness told the cop that he then saw another man leave the same house and attempt to help the woman.
Two other witnesses corroborated the incident, telling Gamarra in one case that the victim yelled out, “Stop, please, no, you’re hurting me.” That witness said she saw Gray push, drag and shove the victim down the street and into the white van.
The weapon used in the alleged stabbing was never recovered. The victim refused to cooperate with Gamarra’s investigation or to be photographed for evidence, though Gamarra observed scratches to the side of the face and bruising to her eye and arms. Gray described the incident as merely an argument, and that he never laid a hand on his girlfriend. (The couple live together and have a child.)
Gray was arrested and charged with domestic violence, false imprisonment, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and assault. He remained in jail Thursday afternoon on $8,500 bond. In 2009, Gray was arrested on charges of domestic violence, felony child abuse, tampering with a witness and marijuana possession of less than 20 grams. The first three charges were dropped before Circuit Court Judge Kim Hammond, who has since retired. The fourth charge was transferred to County Court. Then-Judge Sharon Atack found Gray guilty on the marijuana charge in January 2010, sentencing him to jail time that had already been served.
The second incident took place three hours later in Palm Coast’s P Section. L. Harris, 32, had allegedly pointed a shotgun at his girlfriend’s face. It was unclear, when deputies arrived at the scene, whether Harris was still armed. They immediately detained him, then spoke to him and his 32-year-old girlfriend.
The couple had just returned from New Year’s revelry at a bar in Bunnell and were arguing over Harris’s girlfriend dancing with another man. The victim said she wanted to leave the house. Harris allegedly prevented her from doing so. The incident was taking place in front of the victim’s 14-year-old daughter. (Harris and the victim had been living together about three months.)
Feeling threatened, the woman grabbed a small pocket knife to defend herself, according to an arrest report, and went into the master bathroom. She told cops Harris kept “blowing up” and would not get out of her face, following her into the bathroom and bumping into her, “causing him to touch the knife.” He then left the bathroom, enabling the victim to lock the door, only to return and kick the bathroom door in, then allegedly pointing the shotgun in her face and saying, “I don’t play with knives.”
When the victim dropped the knife, Harris lowered the shotgun and put it back in the closet, the report states.
Harris told cops that he was in fact following his girlfriend around the house, looking to speak to her, but that she refused, and that the confrontation escalated when, according to Harris, his girlfriend took out the pocket knife and pocked him with it, including pokes at his face. Part of Harris’s statement to police was redacted from the report.
Harris was arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and false imprisonment.
The charges were dismissed on Dec. 2, 2014, and the case was sealed–that is, scrubbed from public view in the court record–on March 18, 2016.