Community Holds Benefit To Support Gravette Teen After Triple Murder-Suicide

GRAVETTE, Ark. (KFSM) — The community of Gravette came together Thursday (July 11) to support one local girl who lost her entire family in a triple murder-suicide. 

Police believe Justin Barnes shot and killed his wife Inga and two sons, Casey and Levi, Friday (July 5) before taking his own life.

Friends and family say the only surviving family member, Sumer Barnes, was at work at the time of the shooting.

Community members gathered at the Hiwasse Country Store to show their love and support for the Barnes family.

"The family was a giving family, we don’t even have time today to explain everything that those great people did for our community and just for others around here locally," Donna Taylor said.

Taylor was a close family friend of the Barnes' and says the outpouring of love for Sumer following the tragedy would make her family proud.

"I believe, we all believe that love heals. And if Inga, Justin, Casey and Levi ... you know what they would be really happy to know that we are pouring out our love for her. That’s what they would want," Taylor said.

The restaurant served spaghetti dinners to raise money for Sumer and says 100% of the proceeds will be given to her. The dinner included spaghetti, salad, garlic bread and a drink for $12.99.

People poured into the restaurant by the carloads to show their support.

Friends say this is a perfect example of how this small community is there for one another.

"You see this town of Gravette go through this and just wrap their arms around her like I have said so many times they have just embraced this young girl,” Pebi Elliott said.

"It’s encouraging as a person to see that they care for her so much and as a community too," Ethan Elliott said.

Loved ones say that once today ends they plan to stay by Sumer's side from here on out to show they will always be there for her.

"Whatever she needs, whatever they need, we will always be here to help our community, might be small but with the love and generosity the power is just unlimited with what we can do," Taylor said.

There will be a pot luck dinner with desserts and a pie auction at the Gravette Middle School Gym to raise money for Sumer on July 20.

A funeral for the Barnes family will be held Saturday (July 13) at Life Way Christian School in Centerton. The expenses have been paid for by donations.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.