A community mourns the death of Ken Barker, 51, at a memorial service scheduled for July 18th. As a dedicated RCMP corporal, Barker was a man of great courage and unwavering service. As a veteran mountie with nearly 20 years of experience, he served his country through a host of seasons and saw more than his fair share of devastation and suffering. The most memorable and traumatizing incident may have just cost Barker is very life. Recently retired, Ken Barker continued to struggle with medical and mental residue from his service in the public safety field. After one thwarted attempt at suicide a few months ago, Barker sadly took his own life last week in his home.
In 2008 Ken Barker was the among the first responders at a horrific incident that occurred on a Greyhound bus trip along the Trans-Canada Highway near Winnipeg. A mentally unstable passenger, Vince Li, savagely stabbed and beheaded a fellow passenger, Tim McClean. A judge ruled that Li was not criminally responsible for the crime due to his limited mental capacity. Despite receiving limited psychiatric treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Barker struggled with the images and the overall experience of the event long after it was over. Li recently made headlines again, which caused Barker to have flashbacks about the gruesome incident.
His widow, Shari Barker gave a brief but touching overview of the impact life on the RCMP has on its mounties, including her own estranged husband. She advocated for the force to do more to protect and treat personnel that suffer with PTSD and other mental and psychological problems associated with the job. She believes that with the appropriate support her marriage would still be intact and her husband would not have been driven to take his own life.