Man Dies From Shooting 60 Years Ago

At the age of 77, a man from Pahokee, Florida, died in May, but the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner recently ruled that the man’s death was the result of a gunshot wound he sustained nearly six decades ago.

John Henry Barrett was 19 years old when he was shot in the neck in 1958. The wound caused damage to his spinal cord and left him paralyzed, and it was an infection and other complications from the injury that caused his death, according to the medical examiner.

Authorities say the shooting was the result of a playful fight that escalated into violence. The shooter was charged, convicted, and served prison time for the crime. Barrett’s family, however, said Barrett never allowed himself to be a victim or let his injuries define him.

“He always told my brother and myself, no matter how dire your circumstances, your mind has the ability to overcome anything,” said Robert Lee, Barrett’s great-nephew. “His life is an example.”

Likewise, Lee’s brother, Terrance, said of Barrett, “He never wanted to be looked upon as (being disabled). He wanted to be looked up to as a normal person in society. That’s the way he lived his life.”

After the shooting, Barrett was told it wasn’t likely he would walk again, but Barrett defied his doctors and learned to walk again with the aid of a cane.

Family members say Barrett, who served as the pastor at the New Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Pahokee, rarely spoke about the shooting.

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  • old codger


  • Bozo.

    WOW & WOW….

  • Bozo.

    May he be with the good Lord!

  • The Kafir

    RIP sir…

  • jimshaw54

    Come on! Six decades for the bullet to kill him, and they say it CAUSED his death. It may have contributed to his dying earlier than he might have died, but most certainly in six decades it did not CAUSE his death.

    I wouldn’t say anything if I wasn’t certain that this could easily CAUSE many others to use this as basis for death of family members. Law $$$$uits to follow.

    • Wentra

      Here is a flowchart to help you better understand:

      Bullet > Paralysis > Latent Infection > Death

      • jimshaw54

        Here is a good reason why this is not a good thing.

        I totally understand, but my concern is the many people who will get an idea from this and then start lawsuits galore. I didn’t notice anything regarding a lawsuit in the article, but I CAN see it happening in this litigious society.

        • Unlike a criminal charge of murder, a wrongful death suit is subject to a statute of limitations.

      • Your flow chart is a post hoc; ergo propter hoc argument. “After this; therefor, because of this.” It is not necessarily so that each lead to the next, even though the article assumes is.

    • Rex Whitmer

      Actually mimshaw54, my great, great grandfather was a wounded confederate soldier in the Civil War. He had been shot in the back in a place that could not at that time be operated on. After the war he went back to his farm in West Virginia where he continued his farming until he was about sixty five. At times he would have flare ups from the lead poisoning. He had been out working his field on day, sat down under a shade tree and died from that old wound! Sixty years ago nearly all bullets had lead noses!

      • I am sure he did not die from the lead and it is unlikely he died from the wound.

  • David

    Another story trying to use this as a gun violence argument. No doubt this will add to the statistics. Guns are not violent, people are. The idea that ignoring gun safety will make it better will never work, instead, we should have mandatory gun education in our schools since it’s apparent parents are not doing their job.

    • David

      It’s easier for a teenager to find information on anal sex than gun safety, really? This Country needs to wise up.

      • The horseplay developed into a real fight. This was gun violence as a result. It was not playing with a gun resulting in a negligent discharge. In 1958 it was typical to have gun safety classes in WHITE classrooms. In Florida in 1958, schools were segregated in Florida. I am not saying you are WRONG. I am saying your comment is totally IRRELEVANT to any PART of this particular story.

        • Jeff Martin

          This was people violence!! Guns are objects and can do nothing by themselves!!

          • Rex Whitmer

            True, but as I read it, the victim was as much to blame as his injurer, and it could have been the otner way around! A gun is NOT made to be played with! I came from a rural area and was using weapons by myself but the age of ten. I hunted and killed predatory animals on our farm, and I mean that they were a danger to our livestock or to ourselves.

          • It does not in anyway State the gun was played with. It was fired in anger after horseplay turned into anger and a fight. This was not a negligent misfire.

          • I agree a gun was a tool, not a cause. The person who fired the gun did not do this by accident. Guns are not culpable. There was no gun malfunction.

  • Ted_Zee_Man


    • He has already been tried, convicted, and sentenced. What would the purpose be to put another 77 year old man in prison, even making the unlikely assumption you could get a conviction?

    • Mr Ed

      Already tried, convicted, and served his time. I’d think double-jeopardy would apply.

    • Jeff Martin

      And that would be insane!!

  • Terry Butts

    So instead of blaming doctors etc. that had 60 years to notice and fix the problem that eventually caused the infection they want to put the entire blame on the cause of the original injury. Many people in their 70s have died from many kinds of infections no one went back 60 years through their medical history to when they stepped on some nail etc. to blame the past injury for their death.

    This is nothing more than an attempt to alter gun death statistics and possibly PUT ON TRIAL AGAIN someone who was already tried convicted and served time for the crime under new charges.

    This is setting a dangerous precedent that leaves anyone ever tried for any crime able open to be TRIED AGAIN for the same crime but different charges because the GOVERNMENT decided to accuse them of being the cause of some future event they claim is connected to the past crime.

    • jimshaw54

      I said pretty much the same thing about people in our litigious society taking advantage of this ruling. Then they begin suing for damages because of something that happened years ago. Imagine how doctors could be sued for “wrongful death” because the doctor operated on their relative in what then was a normal procedure, but it left the patienht with a lifetime problem that eventually lead to death.

      • Terry Butts


        If someone say had their appendix removed 60 years ago when it was a much more risky operation than now suddenly develops some kind of infection etc. in the same area there is nothing stopping them from blaming that operation for it and going after medical personal or the hospital involved in the original surgery.

        What makes this even more of an issue is a lot of times it is simply a matter of someones personal opinion that it was somehow connected. For example in this case how can they be sure it was a result of the injury 60 years ago and not something else that happened since like a fall or other occurrence causing another injury in the same area.

  • nosmiley

    Lead was the main component in bullets that long ago. Lead is poisonous to human bodies. Maybe more so in young children. I remember when the government passed a law prohibiting baby beds from being painted with lead containing paint. We stripped the paint off my metal baby bed, and repainted it with paint that had no lead for my two sisters. ( in the mid 50’s.) I think lead can effect the brain. I never have been right (true). My sisters turned out OK. My personality has always been different from other folks, but usually I fit in, except on certain sites. I have made it to 70 yr. and I did teethe on the painted rails of that bed, as did everyone else that used the bed. I’m not trying to use the paint as a cop-out, but it is something to think about. Teachers told me I was different as I grew up. (not a bad different, but different). Feel free to call me names, another thing I have learned to tolerate.