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Arrest made in murder of Virginia dad: 'Someone took my ray of sunshine'

Bryan Barber.png
Posted at 12:11 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-04 08:36:48-04

NOTTOWAY COUNTY, Va. — Police arrested a Nottoway man for murder. Christopher Michael Rowan, 32, of West Courthouse Road, was arrested on Thursday, June 2, after police said he killed 27-year-old Bryan Barber, of Farmville.

"At 12:46 a.m., Nottoway Sheriff’s Office was notified of a shots fired call at a residence in the 3000 block of W. Courthouse Road," a Nottoway Sheriff’s Office spokesperson wrote in an email. "Deputies and a Blackstone unit responded to the scene. A gunshot victim was located on the scene, deceased. A person at the scene was taken into custody."

Details about the circumstances surrounding the shooting have not yet been released.

"There is no ongoing threat to the public," officials said.

Rowan is charged with first-degree murder and a gun charge.

Barber's family remembered their loved one as a kind and caring father who loved animals, live music, riding his motorcycle, and fixing cars.

The 2013 Tucker High School graduate worked as a mechanic, most recently alongside his dad in Gum Springs, Virginia.

"He was always working on cars," his older sister Brittany Hadad said. "When he was little he would take apart his toy cars and put them back together."

Barber was also a cancer survivor, she said.

He learned about his diagnosis around the same time his son was born.

"He was such a great father and he adored his son," Hadad said. "They're like mini me's. We see so much of Bryan in [him]."

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Bryan Barber

"We will never be able to explain [to his son] how wonderful [Bryan] was," she said. "You can describe a person all day long, but Bryan was not a person you can put into words."

She called her brother cuddly and sweet and said he'd always give people bear hugs.

"He was so animated and had so much life," she said. "Someone took my ray of sunshine."

Barber was killed on his mother's birthday.

Flowers he'd pre-ordered for her arrived the same morning she found out about her son's death, Hadad said.

"I talked to him the day before and he told me he loved me and he was excited to see me," Hadad, who lives in Florida, said as the siblings planned to surprise their parents with an unannounced visit. "But instead, the ticket I booked will be to see family for his memorial."

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Hadad said her younger brother loved the feeling of freedom while riding his motorcycle.

"It would be much easier for me if he passed away in a motorcycle accident," she said. "But for somebody to take his life from us. I just can't wrap my head around it. For what?"

Barber is also survived by his wife Krystal.

A celebration of life for Bryan Barber will be held a week from Saturday. The family has established a GoFundMe to help with unexpected costs.

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