1958 bul­let wound kills Florida man

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NEWS -

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida man died of a gun­shot wound nearly 60 years af­ter the bul­let was fired, a med­i­cal ex­am­iner said.

The Palm Beach Post re­ported Mon­day that the county med­i­cal ex­am­iner de­ter­mined that John Henry Bar­rett, 77, died in May of an in­fec­tion and com­pli­ca­tions re­lated to the gun­shot wound and ruled his death a homi­cide.

The 1958 shoot­ing dam­aged Bar­rett’s spinal cord and left him par­tially par­a­lyzed, re­quir­ing him to walk with a cane.

At age 19, Bar­rett was shot by a friend dur­ing a fight. The friend, who was not iden­ti­fied in the med­i­cal ex­am­iner’s re­port, served time in prison. Court and law en­force­ment of­fi­cials told the news­pa­per that they could not find any records with in­for­ma­tion about the sus­pect or the shoot­ing.

Bar­rett worked for three decades as a pas­tor and was a for­mer ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Pa­ho­kee Hous­ing Author­ity.

His fam­ily told the Post that Bar­rett didn’t speak of­ten about the shoot­ing but used it as a way to in­spire oth­ers.

“He never wanted to be looked upon as [be­ing dis­abled],” said Ter­rance Lee, his great-nephew. “He wanted to be looked up to as a nor­mal per­son in so­ci­ety. That’s the way he lived his life.”

Bar­rett told The Miami Her­ald in 1974 that the in­jury kept him from work­ing in the fields, like many of his friends did — and that might have been a bless­ing. “If the ac­ci­dent hadn’t hap­pened, I would have spent all of my life as a farm worker.”

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