Worker saved boss in grass clippings shooting

Posted at 11:17 PM, Sep 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-18 23:17:15-04

There are good employees and then there are great employees.  Johnny Barnes is the later.  

Barnes was out doing a landscaping job with his boss Robert Hendrix when a man investigators identified as 91-year-old Max Horton became irate that some grass had landed on a friend’s car.

“You don't shoot anybody over a piece of grass,” Barnes said.  I have a bad temper sometimes too, but, I am not gonna get a gun and shoot someone cause you got dirt on my car and that is exactly what it came down to yesterday, a little dust and dirt and someone's life was on the line.”

This all happened Thursday in front of Horton’s home on the 2900 block of Palo Verde Drive in Avon Park.

Barnes said if he hadn't distracted Horton his friend would’ve been killed.

“He had him at gunpoint on his hands and knees begging for his life,” Barnes said.  “I just started moving get him to look at me.  When he moved his head to watch me he said ‘hey, hey’ his attention come to me and his hand came off of Robert.”

At that moment Barnes said Hendrix grabbed for the gun.

“It gave him the opportunity to save himself,” Barnes said.
During the scuffle the gun went off just missing Hendrix’s head.

“They are wonderful workers they are the best,” Marilyn Krug said.  

Krug said Hendrix has cut her lawn with Barnes for more than a decade.  In fact, she said they are hired out to do almost all of the houses in the neighborhood.

Krug said Horton has a history of having a bad temper in the neighborhood but couldn't believe what happened.

“This is such a quiet community and everyone is family here,” Krug said.  “It has really upset the community.”

Barnes said he was taught to respect his elders, but couldn’t sit back and watch his boss get murdered over some yard clippings.

“For an old person to have to get hurt I hate that.  But, I hate worse my friend to get hurt,” Barnes said.  “You don't shoot anybody over a piece of grass.  I said you gonna get what you deserve big boy, you had no right doing that.”

Horton is charged with attempted murder and is being held at the Highlands County Jail with no bond.  
Investigators said he has had trouble threatening people with violence before.

According to their news release:

Horton was transported by EMS to Highlands Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Room for treatment. Florida Hospital was bypassed because Horton had been trespassed warned from Florida Hospital in September, 2013, due to verbal threats he made to staff members, telling them he had a gun in his vehicle and they would be sorry if he went to get it.