Michaella Barnes, 34, was cutting it close to get to work on time Monday when she got a call just before 9 a.m.
On the other end of the line was her brother’s girlfriend with bad news. Michael Barnes, 38, had been shot multiple times while working as a cashier at Bay Food Mart in Norfolk.
Police got a report of the shooting just before 8 a.m. When they arrived around 8:15 a.m. they found a man shot outside of the market’s front doors, according to a Norfolk news release.
Police say the victim was shot during an argument with Leonard Bullock, 29, of Norfolk, at the market, located at 2707 Granby St. They believed the men were leaving the store when a gun was fired.
Bullock was charged with second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, police said. He’s being held without bond at Norfolk City Jail.
Michaella Barnes, a nurse working in Hampton, said as soon as she heard the news she turned her car around. She sat through traffic at the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, eager to get to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital where first responders had taken her brother.
On her way to the hospital she passed by the market. She saw news reporters hovering around the parking lot and a Norfolk homicide detective investigating. She knew to expect bad news.
“News is not news if it’s a wound shot. I knew there was something more to it,” she said.
When she arrived at the hospital, Michaella Barnes was told to speak to a chaplain and doctors told her that Michael Barnes died on the scene.
Michaella Barnes said her brother had been working at the market for about four months and was liked by many people in the neighborhood.
“If you knew him, and you came into this store he joked and laughed and played all day,” she added.
Michaella Barnes, who lovingly referred to her brother as “big head,” described him as a joker who was protective of her while they were were growing up in New York City.
She added that she feels partially responsible for his death because she brought him to Norfolk in 2002 for the chance at a better life.
“You just want to live better,” Michaella Barnes said. “I brought him down here for a better life. It’s tough in New York.”
Michael Barnes was the father of two children, an 11-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy, who are still living in New York. Michaella Barnes called their mother Monday morning to share the news.
“It’s still unbelievable that he’s not here right now – that they told me my brother was dead,” Michaella said. “We worry about so much every day. We worry about bills. I worry about my patients that I have, saving their lives, and I couldn’t do anything for my own brother. I couldn’t do anything for my own brother.”
Anyone with information about the shooting should to call the Norfolk Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.
Mayfield can be reached at 352-431-9612.