More detail on this person: Kenneth Barnes
was a man changed by war.
He grew up in Nashville, Tenn., one of seven children. After high school, he joined the Navy, and while in the service, got a degree from the University of Nebraska. His dream had been to become a lawyer.
But when his Navy hitch ended in 1963, he turned around and joined the Army. He ended up serving two tours of duty in Vietnam. He flew helicopters, and was a helicopter instructor.
And when he returned to the United States nine years later, he just wasn't the same Kenneth his friends and family had known. He'd gone from being outgoing and fun-loving to keeping more and more to himself.
He was a tinkerer, and liked working on cars.
He moved to Southern California where he could be near family members, and owned a bar, the Gemini, on Firestone Boulevard in South Gate for a time. Then he sold the bar and worked as a car salesman.
Most recently, he lived in an apartment in Paramount, and had been cleaning coin-operated car washes at night. He'd always liked the Bellflower-Paramount area, his brother Gilbert said.
He may have just been leaving a car wash job when he was shot and killed just after midnight on April 12 at Compton Boulevard and Clark Avenue in Bellflower.
A young emergency medical technician said later he was in his garage nearby when he heard muffled gunshots, followed by a car screeching, then a loud crash. John Stephen ran around the corner, where he saw Kenneth's car sticking out of a barbershop, across from the car wash. The engine of his car was still running.
Despite John's life-saving efforts, Kenneth died a few minutes later. He was 55 years old.
So far, there are no suspects in his murder.
He is survived by his mother, Eunice Barnes; brothers, Charles, David and Gilbert; sisters, Barbara McMinn, Hazel Chausse and Carroll; children, Debbie and Michael.
Services will be private.
This information was last updated 05/18/2016
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Date posted on this site: 03/11/2023
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