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Suicidal teen in hospital

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March 12, 2007

Thomasville -- A Thomas County teen is in grave condition at Archbold Memorial Hospital after attempting suicide while at church.

Seventeen-year old Jonathan Barnett shot himself on the church lawn in front of two friends Sunday morning just before services started. Friends and family question why as they pray for his recovery.

Pastor David Holton at Northwoods Church of God says that Jonathan Barnett was good kid, involved in the youth group, but was a troubled teen.  "There were some situations he had gone through. We were involved, and we were trying to get the appropriate help we were just not aware of this."

According to the Thomas County Central High School student's myspace web page, he was going to a teenage outreach program to help him deal with problems he was struggling with. Sadly he decided to try to take his life instead.

Investigators say Barnett was with two friends outside of Northwoods Church of God Sunday morning. "They had attended church services, or Sunday school that morning, and they were waiting to go to service, and during those times he went outside and that's where it happened, next to the church," said Investigator Jason Carroll of the Thomas County Sheriff's Office. "He just basically said 'I just can't do this anymore.'"

While his family, and the congregation sat just inside, Barnett took out a handgun, and shot himself in the head.  "We didn't know, number one that he had access to a handgun, but we were not aware of the magnitude of this," Holton said.

Investigators say they believe Barnett had access to the gun from a family member who lived outside the home. Barnett was taken to Archbold Memorial Hospital.

"He does have a brain injury, and according to the doctors this morning things look better today than they did yesterday."

Barnett's family, friends, and his pastor prayed for his recovery as they awaited the results of his surgery Monday afternoon. They continue to stay optimistic about the outcome of the ordeal.

"It's not the answer, this is never the answer. But its making an impact on young people, that there is a higher power" said the pastor.

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