John Stephen Spires and Angel Lynn Barrett had only lived in their mobile home a few months before he died from a single gunshot Tuesday night.
“From what we understand right now — we have not confirmed by any means whatsoever, only through statements of the girlfriend — that they were playing with a gun,” said Capt. Earl Humphries of the Jones County Sheriff’s Office. “At one point, we understand the gun was unloaded and then it was reloaded, and Mr. Spires was shot and killed there in the home.”
Barrett, 19, explained to authorities in detail what transpired inside the gray single-wide mobile home at 111 Deer Creek Circle, Sheriff Butch Reece said.
Barrett told them that Spires, 21, first pointed an empty gun at her and pulled the trigger. After the weapon clicked but didn’t fire, she left the room to check on some laundry, and he must have loaded the 9mm pistol, Reece said.
When she returned, he apparently handed her the weapon to put away, but she playfully retaliated by pointing the gun at him and fired the fatal shot that hit him near the mouth, Reece said. A distraught Barrett telephoned 911 and neighbors to report the shooting about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, investigators said.
Spires’ body was taken to the GBI crime lab in Macon for an autopsy, and investigators secured a search warrant to return to the couple’s home to look for evidence to corroborate Barrett’s story.
Humphries said the unemployed couple planned to marry as soon as they found jobs.
Their blue mailbox across the street was emblazoned with stick-on letters that read “Stephen N Angel.”
Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said he remembered a similar case in Macon during the late 1970s that happened in the historic Napier House that was moved recently for construction of the new Central High School.
A man was showing a woman a gun and took all the bullets out and fired toward the floor. He reloaded the weapon while she was in the bathroom and she later picked it up, pointed it at him and killed him on the sofa, Jones said.
Humphries said the Jones County death highlights an important lesson.
“Never point a gun at somebody. Treat every gun like it is loaded,” Humphries said. “It’s tragic, but we hope that we can uncover exactly what took place. We can put the family at rest and at ease. It’s not going to make the hurt go away. That’s going to be there for some time.”
Investigators plan to discuss the case with assistant district attorney Greg Bushway to determine whether charges will be filed against Barrett.
To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.