Liberal man charged with assaulting resident, firing gun with kids home

LIBERAL, Mo. — A Liberal man is in Barton County Jail after escaping police during a domestic violence call.

Around 6:30 AM Saturday a ‘physical domestic’ call was made to Barton County dispatch for an armed man assaulting a resident with three children present.

Before authorities could arrive, the now identified suspect, Joseph Barger, fled from the home. An arriving deputy immediately launched an investigation and learned while at the home, Barger fired his weapon inside the residence. Barger also happened to be driving a vehicle stolen out of Sheldon, Mo. After developing probable cause, additional deputies began canvassing the area and assisting in the investigation.

The following Sunday night, deputies with received information that Barger could be hiding out in a different Liberal home. A deputy went to this address and located Barger inside the bedroom of the house and when commanded to exit, Barger refused. Under the notion that Barger could have more firearms within backup was called to the scene.

The Vernon County Sheriff’s Office, VC Special Response Team, and Missouri State Highway Patrol were all present at the scene shortly after. As the team entered the building chemical agents were deployed into the bedroom in order to flush out Barger. Two hours later Barger exited and was compliant with authorities and arrested.


Barger was formally charged through the Barton County Prosecutor’s Office for the following:

  • Domestic Assault; 1st Degree
  • Armed Criminal Action
  • Endanger Welfare of a Child; 3 counts
  • Stealing

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