Benjamin Christian Barnes, 42, died of a gunshot wound to his chest, the Ada County Coroner’s Office said Monday afternoon.
His manner of death is listed as “homicide,” appearing to rule out any chance that Barnes shot himself. Barnes was shot twice; one of the wounds was not fatal.
Unusually, the coroner’s office included a plea for help finding Barnes’ relatives. “My office continues to follow up but as of the time of this release have exhausted leads to locate family,” Coroner Dotti Owens wrote. Anyone with information that may help should call the coroner’s office at 208-287-5556.
Barnes was a transient, said Garden City Police Chief Rick Allen, and had been banned from sleeping or camping on the Greenbelt or adjoining properties.
Allen was familiar with him from a 2015 case. Barnes pleaded guilty that October to damaging a riparian zone along the Boise River in Garden City. Barnes was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with all but one day suspended.
Police said Barnes threatened multiple people and dogs in the Hulls Gulch area on Saturday morning, shooting and killing one family’s dog before exchanging gunfire with Boise police officers. Barnes died at the scene. No officers were injured.
Some online reports over the weekend speculated on whether the gunman was homeless. Some people said they’d seen someone matching his description in the Foothills in the days leading up to the shooting. Those reports remain unconfirmed.
The only other criminal charge listed against Barnes in Idaho online court records was an October 2009 citation in Ada County for hunting, fishing or trapping without a license. He pleaded guilty and was fined $156.
The shooting of the dog sent trail users scrambling to contact police and warn others recreating in the area of the danger. Ada County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Patrick Orr said county dispatchers received nine calls between approximately 8 and 10:30 a.m.
On Sunday, police cleared the Hulls Gulch area and opened all trails.
Meridian police are heading up a Critical Incident Task Force investigation into the shooting.