Santa Fe, TX – The wife of the school resource officer who was shot as he confronted a school shooter on Friday said her husband will be devastated when he fully wakes up and learns what happened to the students and teachers at Santa Fe High School.
“He is going to be really upset that they lost those kids and the teachers,” Ashley Barnes told the Houston Chronicle. “It’s going to hurt him.”
Her husband Officer John Barnes, was one of several officers who rushed into the school to try to stop 17–year-old student who had opened fire on classmates and faculty.
Eight students and two teachers were killed in the shooter’s rampage on May 18 that also left an additional 13 victims wounded.
Officer John Barnes was the first one who engaged the gunman after the teen opened fire on his peers with a shotgun and a .38 revolver, but he was shot in the elbow by a shotgun blast, KHOU reported.
His wife told the Houston Chronicle that initially she was relieved to hear her husband had only been shot in the elbow, but when she arrived at University of Texas Medical Branch she found out that his heart had stopped twice.
The gunman had fired his Remington shotgun at Officer Barnes and hit his right elbow, shredding veins and bone and sending blood spraying out onto the ground, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“His elbow is completely messed up,” Ashley Barnes said.
Another officer pulled Officer Barnes to safety, and then applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
Paramedics arrived quickly and transported the officer, but he flatlined in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, and again on the operating table once he’d arrived, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Officer Barnes remained in the intensive care unit and has been kept sedated to make it easier for him to recover. He has been able to shake his head yes or no to answer questions, and he was able to lift his injured arm and wiggle his fingers, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Ashley Barnes said doctors planned to keep Officer Barnes sedated for a few more days and then orthopedic surgeons will attempt to rebuild his destroyed elbow.
“It was in very bad shape,” she told the Houston Chronicle. “They’re going to have multiple surgeries, and they hope he’ll have full range of motion by the end, but they can’t promise that.”
She said that while she appreciated all the recognition her husband has received for his efforts to stop the Santa Fe High School shooter, he was doing the same thing he has always done as a police officer.
“John is not a hero from Friday,” she said. “John has been a hero every day he put on a police uniform.”
Officer Barnes is a 23-year veteran of the Houston police who joined the Santa Fe Independent School District Police Department upon his retirement from Houston PD in January.
One of the most difficult things for the officer’s wife to do was tell their children that Officer Barnes had been shot.
Ashley Barnes is an assistant principal at an elementary school in the same school district, and said she was initially told that an officer had been shot, but it wasn’t her husband.
She told the Houston Chronicle that she’d already reassured her son that his father was fine when officers arrived at her office with the bad news.
“I was freaking out,” Ashley Barnes said. “As soon as she got me, I knew it was John. I just needed her to tell me he wasn’t dead.”
She said doctors do not know if her husband’s arm will ever make a full recovery, but that he faces months of recovery and rehab the elbow has been rebuilt.