HOLLADAY, Utah, Jan. 20, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder had planned to keep his emotions in check this time.
“I told myself I wasn’t going to cry tonight,” said Winder, speaking Wednesday at a candlelight vigil for his friend and colleague, Douglas S. Barney, the Unified Police Department officer gunned down in the line of duty three days earlier.
At a Sunday news conference, Winder was visibly upset, his voice breaking with emotion, when he delivered the news of Barney’s death.
Barney was shot at 9:51 a.m. Sunday while investigating a serious car accident where one driver left the scene.
Barney approached Cory Lee Henderson, who reportedly turned and shot the officer in the head. Henderson also shot Jon Richey, a second UPD officer, who survived his wounds. Henderson died in a hail of gunfire at the scene.
And Barney died at 1:12 p.m.
“If I feel this bad I can’t imagine how all my dear friends feel,” Winder said at Wednesday night’s vigil, addressing the crowd of more than a thousand officers, family members, friends and community members, who had gathered behind the Holladay City Hall Building.
Winder said people had approached him over the past few days, asking him how such a thing could happen in their town.
“I struggle because I have no answer for that,” Winder said. “I stopped looking for the answers because there ain’t none. So instead, we need to focus on the love…. We live in a community where we are fortunate that individuals like you will come out in the freezing cold to listen and pray.”
Winder said he would never forget Barney’s warm demeanor, friendliness, or habit of greeting friends and coworkers as “my brothuh.”
Holladay Mayor Rob Dahle told listeners he had enjoyed Barney’s “big personality, his love of police service, and the men and women who worked with him.”
Barney was proud to protect the neighborhoods, Dahle said, and always found the time to cheer people up and offer them any help he could give.
“He had a desire to make his friends and colleagues laugh, or just to make them feel better,” the mayor said.
“When we light our candles, let’s be thankful we have individuals like Doug Barney… so passionate they will risk their lives in service of the community.”
Dahle speculated that Barney would want his friends, family and community to “share a laugh, tell a funny story, mingle together as neighbors, share our love for this community, be grateful for what we have, and to help one another begin to heal.”
Richey, who was released from the hospital Tuesday and continues to heal from his bullet wounds at home, said he was sad he didn’t get to know Barney better. Richey was relatively new to the Unified Police Department, he said, but felt welcomed and accepted by Barney.
Erika Barney thanked everyone who had gathered to celebrate her late husband.
“I think the saying that opposites attract is true, because I never shouted ‘Hey, brothuh’ at anyone,” she said, drawing laughter from the crowd. “He was 6-feet-5-inches and over 250 pounds most of the time. He was boisterous, generous, and always very passionate about being an officer.”
“It will take a little bit longer to process my feelings, so this week, I think I’m not quite there yet. It’s hard to take it all in.”
Barney’s voice got shakier and a little higher.
“But I haven’t been left alone for a minute,” she said, sounding stronger. “My kids and I keep being surprised by the huge outpouring of love from the community that feels like our family.
“You realize how big an impact it has on people when something like this happens in a neighborhood. With all the nice things people have said and written about Doug, it makes us feel uplifted and supported.”