People hug near the home of Detroit Police Officer Anna Hamilton-Barton following an apparent a murder-suicide in Redford Township on Thursday. (Steve Perez / The Detroit News)
The man who shot his Detroit Police Officer wife in their home Thursday before turning the gun on himself had a violent criminal past, and was on parole at the time of the shooting, records show.
Redford Township Police say Damon Barton, 47, shot and killed his wife, 17-year Detroit Police veteran Anna Hamilton-Barton, 50, before committing suicide. Their bodies were found inside their home Thursday morning after a family member dialed 911.
Court records show Hamilton-Barton filed for divorce in April 2012, although the case was dismissed in July 2012 for non-appearance.
State records also show Barton was convicted of numerous violent offenses.
Barton was convicted in 1986 of carrying a concealed weapon and careless discharge of a weapon causing death. He spent four years in prison before being paroled in 1990.
In 1996, Barton was convicted of home invasion and spent 17 years in prison. He was paroled in March 2013, and was to remain on parole until March 2015.
Hamilton-Barton, who received a life-saving citation her first year on the job, worked several details during her career, including the 6th Precinct and Narcotics Section. The news of her slaying was a shock to those who knew her, and several Detroit Police officers changed their Facebook profiles to a badge adorned with a black band in her memory.
“She was an intelligent police officer who was well-liked by her co-workers,” said retired Detroit Police Officer David Malhalab, who worked with her at the 6th Precinct, where she was a member of that precinct’s Special Operations unit. “She’s one of those officers you enjoyed working with. She was always professional and pleasant.”
Tom Ivan and another neighbor, Paul Cobb, said Hamilton-Barton was friendly.
“She was a good person,” Cobb said. “This is a neighborhood where we would mow each other’s grass, shovel each other’s snow. We helped each other out all the time. She always believed in giving people a second chance.”
The officer, who joined the police force in 1998, spent time at the 6th Precinct and the Narcotics Section. She once talked a disturbed man out of killing his family, after he’d held them hostage and threatened to burn his house down.