Police Officer Returns To OKC Bombing Site After 18 Years

Friday, April 19th 2013, 9:51 pm
By: News 9

For a lot of families, a trip to the national memorial is an experience they'll always remember. But for years, this trip was too difficult for an Oklahoma City police officer who responded the day of the bombing.

It's a fear he finally faced with his daughter. Elise Barnett, 10, likes to learn. On most days she's busy with her homeschool work here at her family's dining room table. But a recent trip with her dad is a lesson she'll never forget.

Capt. Jay Barnett has been an Oklahoma City Police officer for 23 years. He worked the bombing on April 19, but up until a few weeks ago, he'd never been able to walk through the national memorial.

"I can't go there and look at it like everybody else does," Barnett said.

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Elise went on a ride-a-long with her dad, they passed the memorial, and her curiosity led them inside. The visit took Jay back to where he was 18 years ago, a patrol officer responding downtown, his first stop to help a victim.

"Found him exactly like the call had described, wandering down the middle of the street, covered in blood, cut up very badly, still had a lot of glass and debris on him," Barnett said.

Barnett got the man to the hospital and headed to the explosion site. He looked up at where the ATF offices had been. He'd just been there weeks before, had friends who worked there.

"I had a very clear picture in my mind of the offices and the desks, the pictures of families that were sitting on those desks, and that area that I'd been in was gone," Barnett said.

He says there are still memories he doesn't want to revisit. But with Elise by his side, sharing a first experience at the memorial is something that'll always be special to both of them.

"I'm glad that I got to do it, and I'm glad that he took the time to show it to me," Elise said.

See a timeline of the events that took place during Oklahoma City Bombing.