Husband accused of shooting wife, himself

Both in critical condition after shotgun blasts to head

June 29, 2012 at 9:07 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

A Norco couple remains in critical condition after a husband reportedly shot his estranged wife in the head with a shotgun before shooting himself in the face.

Police said one of the couple’s four daughters witnessed the shooting and fled the family home to a neighbor’s house and called the police.

Police officials said officers responded to shots fired at the residence of Otto Barrera Jr., 46, just after 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 24.

Neighbors said Barrera was naked and bleeding from a face wound when he responded to orders from police to come out of the house. He walked out of the front door and collapsed before being rushed to the hospital.

The steps of the Barrera home on Goodhope Street were still spattered with blood on Monday afternoon.

Neighbor Joel Lee said he was surprised by the commotion in the neighborhood.

"I came from work and they had a whole lot of police out there," Lee said.

Neighbor Tammy Thornton said she had been gone for most of the day when she came home to the scene.

"I came home at 8:30 and I couldn’t go past 1st Street. I had to walk to my house," Thornton said. "I was worried about what was going on and then I saw the tape around Otto’s yard."

Thornton said Barrera told her he was leaving for Canada the next day for a job.

Thornton’s mother-in-law, Geri Noel, said they had been to the Barrera’s home earlier on the day of the incident to attend a garage sale.

"What attracted me over there was a garage sale and the man was throwing a lot of good stuff away plus selling auto parts. I asked ‘Why are throwing all of your stuff away?’ and he says ‘Why not?’ I said ‘Alright, well you don’t mind if I take it?’ He said ‘No’," Noel said. "That’s why I can’t believe he actually shot somebody when I actually talked to this man. It’s very scary and that’s why I went home. I did a lot of praying."

Thornton said the Barreras had been having marital troubles over the past few months.

"His wife told him that she wasn’t happy with all of the kids, and you know, with her life. She wasn’t happy so she started seeing somebody else and she was leaving and it’s been going on since then," Thornton said.

Sheriff Greg Champagne said that the couple had previously separated with Catherine Barrera having left the state. She returned to visit with her children.

Thornton said the local shooting led her to think about the safety of her own family.

"My son’s best friend lives right next door and if he’s shooting a gun he could have hit my son or his best friend," Thornton said. "That’s the first thing I thought."

Authorities say Barrera will be charged with attempted murder.

View other articles written Kyle Barnett

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