MCCRORY, Ark. (KTHV) - At 26 years old, Robert Aaron Barker, a McCrory Police Officer, died Thursday morning following a crash. He was responding to a call to assist a sheriff's deputy in a domestic disturbance case, when his patrol car collided with a deer.
Aaron Barker, as everyone called him, was a McCrory Police officer for four years. He was the youngest officer on the force, living his dream of being a police officer. Thursday morning, around 5:00 a.m., he paid the ultimate sacrifice.
"It’s going to take us a long time to get over this," said McCrory Police Chief Paul Hatch. “He was dedicated to this community, he gave his life to this community."
Barker, who was born and raised in McCrory, graduated from the police academy in 2014.
“He was just getting his career started and it was taken away from him,” said Hatch.
Barker was described by Hatch as a loyal, honest, and dedicated officer.
“Everybody loved Aaron, he was one of McCrory’s sons. One of our finest sons and we lost one we'll never get back," said Hatch.
He was just about to celebrate his one year anniversary with his wife Megan. Barker’s pastor at First Baptist Church said since high school, Barker knew he wanted to be a police officer.
“He never thought of doing anything else,” said Pastor Cecil Fuller.
Barker served and protected his community in more ways than one. He was not only a police officer, he also served as a volunteer fire fighter.
In the community, he was known as respectable, kind, and always greeted you with a smile.
“Every time I saw him he had a smile on his face. He was always happy. It didn’t matter what we were dealing with as far as police work, he was always a happy guy," said Fuller.
Now a police chief whose worst fear has been realized, can know his officer was proud to serve and died to protect.
“A lot of times we get a bad rep for being mean, but Aaron Barker was never mean to anybody," said Hatch. "He was a very kind officer and he did a good job for us. Everybody loved him."
Chief Hatch believes this is the first officer McCrory has ever lost in the line of duty.