Community Rallies Around Teen After Family Dies In Murder-Suicide

CENTERTON, Ark. (KFSM) -- Family members and loved ones gathered in Centerton on Sunday (July 7) for a vigil following a triple murder-suicide in Gravette.

Police believe Justin Barnes shot and killed his wife, Inga Barnes, and two sons, Casey and Levi Barnes, before taking his own life Friday (July 5). Sumer Barnes, the only surviving family member, was at work at the time of the incident according to friends.

Pebi Elliott taught Sumer at Life Way Christian School and said she is a strong and caring girl.

"It's the perfect moment to say 'Why do bad things happen to good people?'" Elliott said.

Adrienne Gray was a close friend of Sumer and her brother Casey. Gray said losing someone close to her has been hard, but being by Sumer's side is what is most important.

"That's probably been the hardest heartbreak for me, but being strong for her [Sumer] is my first priority," Gray said. "Her brothers were very caring and very protective of Sumer. They were also very family oriented so every Saturday morning they were there with their mom on the porch talking to her and they were with their dad. They were just always with each other."

Those close to her said the outpouring of love and support for Sumer during this time has been overwhelming.

"People who don't even know this young woman have really wrapped their arms around her," Elliott said. "She is now Gravette's little daughter and it's very inspiring. We should do more of that."

Now the community has come together in solidarity to show Sumer they're there for her.

Those close to her said Sumer's strength is an inspiration and want her to know they'll be there for her every step of the way.

"She will overcome this because she really has a heart of gratefulness for everything and even in this she is going to find where there is good in that," Elliott said. "She will point it back to God."

The First Baptist Church in Centerton is taking donations to try and help ease financial burdens Sumer may face following this tragedy. The church will be open Monday (July 8) through Thursday (July 11).

A GoFundMe has also been set up to support Sumer.

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