Speaking from his hospital bed, the man shot by a Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputy early Sunday said he was not armed and posed no threat.
Alex Barber, also known as Alex Barbour, said Monday that after a "small disagreement" with the on-and-off girlfriend who is the mother of his son, he left their home with a pillow and blanket to calm down and sleep in his car.
A woman — the 20-year-old believes it was his girlfriend — called 911 to report that he was armed with a gun and knife and was making threats, he said.
The Sheriff's Department reported that it had deputies on scene on the 1700 block of Vivian Road within eight minutes of the approximately 1:10 a.m. call reporting domestic violence.
Barber was in his car, beginning to pull out of the driveway, when he saw the headlights of sheriff's vehicles blocking his way, he said. He turned off his engine, to indicate he was not planning to flee, he said, and began to get out of his car.
Barber said his hands were empty, he heard no commands from any deputies, but had not even fully stood when he heard a gunshot and immediately felt it strike him. "When I was on the ground spitting up blood I thought I was done for," Barber posted on his Facebook page at 4:26 a.m. Monday. "Still here tho and not going anywhere."
The deputy who fired the gun was identified as Christopher Hendee, a five-year veteran, in a Monday night update from the Sheriff’s Department.
Barber was shot once in the chest, with the bullet missing his heart by just a couple of inches, he said. The bullet exited beneath his armpit and broke two ribs, he said.
When he woke in Doctors Medical Center later Sunday morning, he was not cuffed to the bed but there was a deputy at his room, Barber said. "There was an investigator who came by and talked with me the same morning. He asked if I owned any weapons" and wanted to hear his account of what transpired.
Barber said he does not have any guns, owns only a hunting/fishing knife and had no weapons at all with him when he was shot. A search of the Stanislaus County Superior Court case index turned up no cases involving Barber, and he said he has no criminal record.
He said he's not been charged nor told of any pending charges.
When asked about the incident Monday afternoon, Sheriff Adam Christianson wrote in an email that "commenting on an on-going criminal investigation is not appropriate."
Barber said his primary concern is the safety of his baby boy as he questions the competency of the child's mother. Barber and his mother said they have initiated action with child protective services.
Of the argument the couple had early Sunday, Barber said, "I told her if we were to break up again, these are the visitations I'd like, and she refused."
Authorities have not released much information about the shooting. Sheriff's officials said only Hendee fired his gun and no deputies were injured. Hendee was placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard protocol for deputy-involved shootings.
No information has been released by the Sheriff's Department on whether Barber was armed, what threat he was believed to have posed or why the deputy fired.
The Sheriff’s Department is conducting both a criminal and administrative investigation into the shooting. The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office is conducting an independent review of the shooting.
Sheriff’s officials ask anyone with information about this shooting to call Detective Jesse Tovar at 209-525-7080 or Crime Stoppers at 209-521-4636 or send an e-mail to www.stancrimetips.org. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and could be eligible for eligible for cash reward.