Stepdad Faces Abuse Charge For Firing BB Gun

September 14th, 2010 by Staff

A Leesburg man was arrested on Monday after authorities said he took football practice too far.

Robert Barker
“I told him he needed to get in condition for the next game, so he had to run sprints,” Barker said.
Lake County sheriff’s deputies charged Barker with abuse and aggravated assault on a child after an anonymous caller to 911 said he was shooting a BB gun at his 13-year-old stepson and making him run sprints in their yard.
The incident happened after a Tavares Youth Football League game on Saturday. Barker and the mother of the victim said he never aimed a BB gun at the teen.
“All I did was shoot the BB gun up in the air. Every time I shot the BB gun up in the air. I didn’t shoot it at him. I didn’t point it at him in any way,” Barker said.
According to the deputy’s report, the teen was taken out of the game because he was numb and dizzy from the heat. Barker said his stepson’s sides were hurting because of heat cramps.
The teenager, who was not identified because of his age, told detectives his stepfather never pointed the BB gun at him.
“He never shot me at all,” the teen said. “I know that he was just teaching me and just telling me to condition right and that I won’t have that problem on the field if I just get conditioned right.”
“All I want people to know is that my husband did not harm my son,” mother Yvonne Barker said. “He has been there since day one when that baby was born. He has raised him for 13 going on 14 years.”
“I think the BB gun was the deciding factor here. When you look at the situation as a whole, given the heat index and the fact that the child already had to be put out of the game for health reasons, and the BB gun — when you look at it altogether, it was a bad decision,” Lake County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. James Vachon said.
“I regret everything, OK? I’m sorry, OK? I don’t know how far sorry will get me, but I’m not allowed to see my own kid,” Barker said.
Barker was released on $10,000 bond on Sunday on charges of assault with a weapon, aggravated assault with a weapon and abuse on a child. As a condition of his release, he cannot see his stepson. He has a court date set for next month.

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