An off-duty Riverside firefighter was killed in an apparent deadly ambush while walking on a Riverside street Sunday.
Investigators looking into the murder of 41-year-old Nick Barrios said he was shot in the 5900 block of Windemere Street Sunday morning.
Colleagues at the nearby Canyon Crest Fire Station 14 were shocked and saddened. On Monday the flag flew at half staff and everyone wore black bands to cover their firefighter’s badges.
“It’s always a shock and the circumstances make it even more so,” said Division Chief John Martinez.
Barrios was killed early Sunday morning in front of his home – just a mile and a half from the fire station. It is believed the suspect, 39-year-old Rene Trejo of Moreno Valley, might have been the ex-boyfriend of the woman Barrios was dating. Police said the suspect ambushed Barrios, shooting him several times before turning the gun on himself.
“He was defenseless. And if he had the opportunity he probably could have talked the guy out of the situation,” said Dave Hernandez, Barrios’ shift captain. “It’s confusing in all the range of emotions – sadness, and I’ll be honest, some anger.”
Barrios was a big man and friends called him a gentle giant.
“If you saw him he was an imposing figure physically, but a big handshake, a warm embrace every once in a while. He was a big man in every sense of the word,” said Martinez.
Barrios served at Canyon Crest Station 14 since it opened in the mid 90s.