Skip to Content

Neighbor dispute turned deadly

TUCSON – A neighbor dispute turned deadly last Thursday when Tucson Police said 54-year-old Don Shoemaker set a property on fire by throwing incendiary devices.

He then shot and killed 65-year old Debbie Barnette, according to the victim’s family members. After shooting Barnette, he turned the gun on himself.

He is currently on life support.

This incident took place in midtown near Roger Road and Mountain Avenue.

Debbie Barnette

One of Barnette’s sisters spoke to News 4 Tucson. She said her sister was a retired teacher who worked with special needs students.

She also worked at the Arizona State Prison teaching classes and volunteered at TIHAN.

Barnette’s longtime friend JoAnn Rust also spoke to News 4 Tucson.

She said Debbie was selfless and was always helping others. She said you could always count on Debbie.

Her friend often had Sunday dinner with her. She said she previously had mentioned she was having difficulty with one the neighbors.

She said he was being unkind to her neighbor, who lived next door to 54-year-old Shoemaker.

“In true Barnette fashion, she got involved,” Rust said.

Tucson Police Department said they had responded to the neighborhood numerous times.

Barnette was also an organ donor.  Even in death, Debbie was helping others.

Caitlin Alexander

Skip to content