Friends and Family Mourn Mansfield Teen Who Died in Christmas Day Shootout With Police
When, in the predawn hours on Christmas morning, a Grand Prairie police officer spotted a suspicious 1997 Honda driving through the Grand Peninsula neighborhood near Joe Pool Lake, he didn't know the car was stolen, nor did he know the driver had a gun.
"Whatever he was doing caught the officer's attention, and that's when they pulled up to him and he just took off," Grand Prairie PD spokesman Mark Beseda would later tell The Dallas Morning News.
Police learned that the vehicle was stolen after the driver, identified as 16-year-old Mansfield Lake Ridge High School sophomore Peyton Barbour, abandoned it in an open field after a brief chase. They became aware of gun, a Glock 9-mm, also stolen, when Barbour fired a shot at the pursuing officer as he fled into the woods.
The ensuing manhunt lasted nearly 10 hours, though the geography -- an actual peninsula with plenty of hiding places but few escape routes -- along with the K-9 unit and police helicopter seemed to predestine Barbour's capture. And so, when a neighbor reported spotting a suspicious person in the 600 block of Seeton Road just before 2 p.m., police knew they had their man.
Barbour, however, wasn't interested in surrender. He and the cops exchanged gunfire. Steve Cremer filmed the standoff from his house using the video camera he received last Christmas, according to NBC 5.
Two officers were wounded in the standoff. Barbour was also shot and was airlifted to Parkland, where he was pronounced dead.
Barbour's friends and family have spent the intervening day-and-a-half trying to figure out why the teen would get in a shootout with police. Last night, they held a somber candlelight vigil at his high school.
The Morning News caught up with a handful of friends who had gathered in front of Barbour's home to pay respects.
"Nobody would have expected this," 19-year-old Trevor Stutsman told the paper. "Everybody loved him. Not a single person he met disliked him."
Barbour did have some rough edges. According to his Twitter profile, where he went by "Dr. GreenThumb," he's a fan of weed, but so are millions of other teenagers. More relevant is the time he reportedly spent in juvenile detention for stealing a car.
He he described the experience to Emma Villaire, a 15-year-old neighbor, as "the worse experience of my life," according to WFAA.
Even then, there's a bit of a chasm between auto theft and firing on police. No one's quite sure what made Barbour hop across.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.