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Shooting at University of St. Joseph campus motivated by love triangle: Court documents

Darnell Barnes, 22, was arrested following a multi-state manhunt after West Hartford police complied clues as to his whereabouts.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — More details are coming about the apparent love triangle police say was the foundation for a shooting and attempted murder at the University of St. Joseph’s campus in West Hartford last week.

Darnell Barnes, 22, was arrested following a multi-state manhunt after West Hartford police complied clues as to his whereabouts. These pointed them in the direction of Poughkeepsie, New York. However, the vehicle Barnes was driving was found abandoned on the side of the highway in Blandford, Massachusetts.

“One thing that we will do in this agency is we will chase you to the end of the earth and track you down if you commit a crime of violence here,” explained West Hartford Police Lt. Thomas Lazure.

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On Sunday night, the 22-year-old Barnes walked into the Farmington Police Department accompanied by his attorney, Jon Schoenhorn, and surrendered. He invoked his 5th Amendment right to remain silent and was taken into custody without questioning, police said.

He was charged with assault, reckless endangerment, evading responsibility, criminal mischief and assault with a vehicle.

Barnes appeared in Hartford Superior Court on Monday where his bond was set at $2 million despite an attempt by his attorney to convince the judge that Barnes is not a flight risk.

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Barnes, who has no criminal history and legally owned a gun, allegedly opened fire on the University of St. Joseph’s campus in West Hartford on Friday.

“By the grace of God nobody died. There were rounds being fired and it’s on a college campus,” Lazure told FOX61 on Monday. “It’s a senseless act of violence that occurred here in town. We know it. We felt it. This town isn’t used to this type of stuff.”

FOX61 obtained Barnes’s arrest warrant, which details how he and his ex-girlfriend, who is a student at the university broke up about a week before the shooting. His ex allegedly started seeing another 19-year-old man.

On the night of the shooting, Barnes’s ex and her new boyfriend allegedly engaged in a night of drinking and sex at a Southington hotel, before heading back to the university’s campus. Upon their arrival in a gravel parking lot of the university, an altercation ensued and Barnes allegedly opened fire on the 19-year-old man. The victim fled in his car.

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Barnes allegedly chased him across the university lawn onto Albany Avenue where the victim’s vehicle flipped. The victim told police, “...he ran up to the car and shot me like 5 times.” The victim remains in serious condition.

Schoenhorn laid the foundation for his client’s initial defense. “It was this foggy night last week where it was pretty thick. The witnesses admit they were all so drunk that they passed out. So to the extent that there are allegations that it was Mr. Barnes who actually engaged in firing a pistol and causing an accident, I’m not willing to concede that that’s 100% demonstrated.”

Several of Barnes’s close family members sat in court to support him, shouting that they loved him as he was led away in handcuffs back to lockup. Barnes’s mother didn’t want to appear on camera but told FOX61 her son, “is a good kid.”

Barnes’s arrest warrant also reveals a series of text messages that he allegedly sent to his ex-girlfriend after discovering she was seeing someone else. Barnes texted, “I’m telling you I will put this on my life and everything I love, I will kill somebody if that ever happens again. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t give a ****.”

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