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Indianapolis peacemaker killed in shooting at near northeast side gas station

John "JB" Barnett was among dozens of "peacemakers," which are community outreach workers, hired to play a critical role in reducing violence in neighborhoods.

INDIANAPOLIS — A man committed to reducing violent crime in Indianapolis by serving as one of the city's "peacemakers" was killed in a shooting at a near northeast side gas station on Saturday night.

According to police records, John "JB" Barnett was shot just after 10 p.m. at the Phillips 66 gas station located at the corner of 34th Street and Keystone Avenue.

Officers arrived and found Barnett with injuries consistent with "trauma," IMPD said. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition and died shortly after arriving. The Marion County Coroner's Office ruled his death a homicide.

Barnett, who was 45 years old, was among dozens of peacemakers, community outreach workers hired to play a critical role in reducing violence in neighborhoods.

The Office of Public Health and Safety (OPHS) mourned Barnett's loss in a series of tweets Sunday night. 

OPHS described Barnett as a "comedian" who could make anyone laugh and, most importantly, was overflowing with joy. 

"One of the most important things to remember about him was his joy - the joy he brought to his children, his friends, his work, and his family," OPHS said.

He dedicated his life to serving his community. He spent Friday night, the day before he died, "in typical JB fashion" by working with kids at Riverside Park. OPHS said efforts like this exemplified who he was, and how much he cared. 

OPHS wrapped up the thread by offering condolences to Barnett's family and vowing to always remember him. 

"In the work that we're doing, every single day brings challenges," said Dane Nutty with Indy Public Safety Foundation. "We had no idea what scene he had just come from, what event or dialogue with a fellow, but he always took the opportunity to smile and say hello and I'll definitely remember that."

"JB is known for being a comedian." said Rodriguez. "He's known for smiling at people even when he didn't know them and I think our community...we get so bogged down in all the horrible things that are going on that we forget that its just as simple as a smile or a hug or 'I love you.'"

Anyone with information about the shooting should contact Detective Larry Craciunoiu at the IMPD homicide office at 317-327-3475 or e-mail him at Larry.Craciunoiu@indy.gov. Anonymous tips can be left with Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477 or (TIPS)

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