A former Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate was arrested after shooting a man who had tried to serve him legal papers Wednesday night at his south Tulsa home, according to police reports.
Christopher Jonathan Barnett was booked into the Tulsa County jail about 4:30 a.m. Thursday on one complaint of shooting with intent to kill.
He smiled for his booking photograph and was released later in the morning after posting $75,000 bond. But he was arrested again late Thursday on an unrelated charge of threatening an act of violence, according to Tulsa County jail records.
The shooting victim, a process server, told officers he was rebuffed at the door and turned to walk away when Barnett shot him in an elbow. Officers responded to the victim’s call about 9 p.m. in the 7500 block of East 102nd Street.
“(The) victim stated that the suspect would not open the door and that the suspect told the victim several times he would kill him,” Barnett’s first arrest report states.
Officers surrounded the house and used a loud speaker to coax the two occupants outside, police said. Barnett was arrested and refused to talk to detectives at headquarters, according to the police report.
Barnett, 36, was a Republican candidate for Oklahoma governor in 2018. He finished third to last in a field of 10 Republicans in the primary, garnering 5,212 votes.
He also has lawsuits pending against the University of Tulsa and Tulsa Community College.
Barnett posted on his Facebook page that a neighbor has video showing that the process server was the aggressor and pointed a gun at Barnett.
“My life was in danger. I feared for my life,” Barnett wrote. “I shot him to protect myself and my family. No regrets.”
The process server was reported by police to be in good condition at a hospital and is expected to be OK.
In response to Barnett’s social media posts, a Tulsa Police Department spokesman said there’s nothing to indicate that Barnett shared his story or information with officers at the scene or at headquarters. If the only information offered to police came from the process server, then officers must default toward it, the spokesman said.
Barnett said he talked on the phone with his attorney, who is on vacation in Branson, before his arrest. He was advised not to talk to police.
“They punished me for exercising my right to remain silent because I wouldn’t answer their questions,” Barnett said in a telephone interview with the Tulsa World. “I just told them to listen to the 911 call. The 911 call has everything on it, and that’s it. And (my attorney) just said don’t say anything beyond that.”
Barnett said he didn’t know who the process server was, nor why he was trying to serve him papers. He said his attorney is working to compress the size of the neighbor’s video to provide it to media outlets.
Barnett posted a screenshot of two text messages an officer apparently sent him minutes before his arrest Wednesday. Barnett texted back Thursday morning and in part told the officer, “You are the most pathetic excuse for a police officer.”
“Stand your ground is still a law in Oklahoma,” Barnett wrote in a different post. “When someone threatens your life with imminent harm, you have the right to protect yourself. I feared for my life and I count my blessings I’m still alive.
“The wimp was being a big baby. Glad my neighbors have video.”
On his Facebook page, Barnett said he is running for U.S. Senate in 2020.