A 25-year-old Atchison man who killed a police officer Friday spent time as a child in Lawrence and had recently become angry at the justice system, according to his grandfather, a Lawrence pastor.
Authorities said Skyler Barbee turned the gun on himself after he shot Atchison police Sgt. David Enzbrenner Friday afternoon. Enzbrenner at the time was working on a codes enforcement call across the street from one of Barbee’s relatives. Both men died.
The Rev. Leo Barbee Jr., of Victory Bible Church in Lawrence, said Monday morning his grandson had become angry at police and the justice system after his father, James J. Barbee, was incarcerated on a life sentence about 10 years years ago in Louisiana for a robbery conviction. Barbee said his grandson believed the punishment was too severe. In a conversation a couple of months ago, Skyler Barbee told his grandfather he didn’t like police.
The Atchison County prosecutor’s office said Skyler Barbee had been sentenced earlier to 45 days in jail for misdemeanor battery on an officer in August, and Leo Barbee said his grandson was sprayed with pepper spray during that incident.
Barbee said he tried to talk to his grandson and even mentioned they have a relative who is a police officer.
“But I guess the fact is he was just seething with anger,” Barbee said.
Skyler Barbee lived with his grandparents in Lawrence for several years as a child when he was in grade school and junior high school, and his grandfather said they didn’t have problems with him. He also remembered his grandson often taking care of his three younger siblings. Before the shooting he had lived in Atchison with his mother and step-father.
Leo Barbee said he hoped to be able to speak to Enzbrenner’s family at some point.
“We’re praying for them, and we’re sorry that it happened because we did not raise him like that,” Barbee said, “And we definitely don’t condone anyone shooting or harming anyone. We’re sorry for the fact that they’ve lost a father and a husband. You can’t get that back. If affects so many people when you have a sad situation like this.”
Hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil Saturday night outside Atchison City Hall for Enzbrenner, a lifelong resident of the city and the first member of the police department killed in the line of duty in 112 years. He leaves a wife and three daughters.
Enzbrenner’s funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Ralph Nolan Gymnasium on the campus of Benedictine College in Atchison, with burial to follow at Sunset Memory Gardens in Atchison County. Visitation will be held Wednesday night at the United Methodist Church in Atchison.