Natchez man shoots fiancée in front of deputy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 8, 2010

FAYETTE — A Natchez man accused of shooting his fiancée was denied bond Monday in Jefferson County Justice Court.

Travis Darnel Barnes, 29, 1002 N. Union St., is accused in the early Friday morning shooting of MeKeal Cusic, 34, 6463 McNair Road, Fayette. He is charged with aggravated assault.

The shooting, in which Cusic was shot several times in the upper body with a .45-caliber handgun, happened between 5 and 6 a.m., Jefferson County Sheriff Peter Walker said.

The shooting happened approximately 100 yards from the victim’s home.

“Information is that (Barnes) had kind of followed (the victim) around, tried to make contact with her for several hours in the day prior to the incident and into the night,” Walker said.

“An officer got a call that morning, but the person on the phone said, ‘You are scaring me with the gun, you are scaring me with the gun, put the gun down.’”

While the officer was not able to get the address during the first call, a second call was made and the sheriff’s office was able to dispatch a deputy to the address.

When the deputy arrived, he found two vehicles sitting in McNair Road, the occupants — Barnes and Cusic — apparently talking or arguing, Walker said.

The officer asked the two if they were the ones who called the sheriff’s office, and told them to move the vehicles to the side of the road.

After moving his vehicle off to the side, Barnes allegedly pulled the gun and started shooting into Cusic’s vehicle, Walker said.

The deputy drew his weapon but by then Barnes had reportedly thrown his gun to the ground and raised his hands in the air.

The suspect is being detained at the Jefferson County jail, and the victim is currently in the intensive care unit at Delta Regional Hospital in Vicksburg, Walker said.

The sheriff said the suspect’s bond, should it be set, will ultimately depend on the victim’s recovery.

Barnes is employed as a correctional officer at the Adams County Correctional Center.

Correctional facility Public Information Officer Sommer Guedon said Barnes has been suspended without pay.

The matter is still under investigation, and Walker said at this time the motivation for the shooting has not been determined.