SUMMERTOWN, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Summertown family is pleading for answers in their son’s murder while searching for his pet bird.
Patrick Barger, 25, was found shot inside a workshop on Caldwell Road on St. Patrick’s Day.
Much like his pet bird, Patrick liked to be free. He was always down for an adventure. His parents said he lived a simple life with little money and with a mission to live life to the fullest.
“Somebody took him from us on St. Patrick’s Day and we miss him horribly,” Patrick’s mother, Bridget Barger, cried.
Patrick is described as a hippie at heart, with his parrot, a green-cheeked conure named “Rikka” often on his shoulder.
“Rikka road motorcycles with Patrick, he crawled in his jacket. Rikka would go behind the welder’s cap and watch Patrick weld,” Bridget smiled.
Patrick was an artist who was passionate about his truck group, “Poor Boy Swag.” The group often met at the workshop on Caldwell Road, where Patrick stayed and where his brother found him shot on Friday, March 17.
“Somebody got away with this, a coward,” said Patrick’s dad, Sean.
The loss has left the Bargers baffled.
“He was just so gentle and so out there. He would have never hurt anyone and so we just don’t understand who could have hurt him.”
Patrick’s mother, a best friend, grasped onto the memories the two made hiking in the hours before his death.
“We hiked five miles and I never take selfies, never, and I just happened to take a picture of us together because we had such a good day and he had so many plans he had so many things he was wanting to do. We had planned to hike once a week because we realized life is too short we had talked about that,” she explained.
A talk that soon became reality.
“Who would hurt a hippie that didn’t wear shoes and walked the track with his bird?” Bridget questioned while sobbing.
The family is left with unanswered questions as they not only search for their son’s killer, but Rikka — who hasn’t been seen since the shooting — a small piece of their son they would like to have back.
“He loves Patrick so much and Patrick loved him so much that I feel like Patrick would want to know that we have Rikka and he will be okay. So if you see him please, please let us know,” his mom cried. “It’s been so cold, but he’s a smart bird and everyone is hoping he goes to light for warmth, so if everyone in the area turn your light porch on and look for our bird please.”
The Bargers say they haven’t received much information on the investigation, but that it doesn’t appear that anything was stolen. They believe Patrick was shot sometime after 10 p.m. on Thursday, March 16. He was found at 9 a.m. the next day.
“We just want our town to feel safe and know that whoever did this is not out there hurting gentle innocent people. This is a small town and everybody talks, everybody knows something. If they know something, say something. Did you see a car that night? Did you hear something on Caldwell? If you know anything, please reach out,” the parents pleaded.
The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office said authorities are looking into multiple leads and narrowing down suspects. If anyone has any information, you are asked to call 931-762-3626.
The Barger family plans to have a celebration of life. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help them during this difficult time.