BANGOR, Maine — An Ellsworth man and convicted felon who exchanged gunfire with police during a 2014 standoff that ended when he was shot in the face, was sentenced Wednesday to 6½ years in prison for gun possession, U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty announced Thursday.
Jeffrey Paul Barnard, 52, pleaded guilty in June in U.S. District Court to being a felon in possession of a firearm during the standoff that closed a portion of Route 179 for hours and initially started over a set of borrowed tractor keys.
“During the stand-off, Barnard fired the weapon [a 22-caliber rifle] and proclaimed that ‘this is war,’” Delahanty’s press release states. “Near the end of the standoff, Barnard emerged from his camper holding his rifle. Despite commands to put the rifle down, Barnard raised and pointed the rifle in the direction of the police officers.”
In sentencing Barnard, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock said, “Short of an actual injury or death from use of a firearm, this type of possession is the most serious and egregious imaginable.”
Woodcock sentenced Barnard after several delays over the last two years, including one instance in which Barnard refused to dress for court.
Barnard, who has a lengthy criminal record that includes convictions in federal and state courts in Maine and California, as well as being involved in prior standoffs with police, was shot in the face by Maine State Police Trooper Scott Duff on the morning of June 1, 2014, after the 14-hour overnight standoff with police. During the standoff at Barnard’s camper, he exchanged gunfire with responding officers, threatened to blow up his camper with a can of gasoline and threw a Molotov cocktail-type explosive device at officers, Ellsworth police Lt. Harold Page said after the incident. No officers were injured.
Jeffrey Barnard and his wife, Vicky, had been living in the camper, located at 303 North St., for about three years and as part of the rent assisted the landlord, a disabled veteran, with some chores, Vicky Barnard said shortly after her husband was shot.
The standoff happened after the landowner or his daughter complained to police at about 8 a.m. on May 31, 2014, that Barnard had stolen the keys to a tractor. Officers went to the scene to investigate, and the confrontation with Jeffrey Barnard began immediately, Page said.
The couple barricaded themselves inside the camper and refused to come out.
The Maine State Police tactical team was called in and used a truck mounted with a battering ram in an attempt to get the couple to exit the camper. The tactical team then shot a can of tear gas into the camper, and Barnard was shot as he exited and pointed his gun at officers. The bullet entered his right eye socket and exited his left jaw, his wife has said. He was in the hospital at Eastern Maine Medical Center for 18 days before checking himself out and being arrested by Bangor police officers.
The Maine attorney general’s office late last year found the shooting justified.
On Wednesday, Woodcock also sentenced Barnard to three years of supervised release upon his release from prison.