Less than two months ago, was working an extra duty job at Woodbridge Center near the stire - the next, he shot and killed a shoplifter who grabbed an elderly woman and held a knife to her throat.
The Woodbridge patrolman was extolled for Wednesday, May 2, in as he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and awarded 'Officer of the Quarter' laurels.
"I've never been a cop," said Mayor John McCormac at the presentation. He lauded Barrett for his "presence of mind, his experience and maturity" in responding to save the victim's life.
With his wife, Joy, holding up the Bible upon which Barrett placed his hand, the newly minted sergeant was sworn in by Town Clerk John Mitch.
"I'm so proud of him," Joy Barrett said, holding her feisty 15-month-old daughter, Veronica, with one arm, and finagling the gold shield to put on her husband's uniform with the other.
also congratulated Barrett on doing "a great job."
Hubner announced that the department had been mulling over establishing an Officer of the Year Award; since it's still so early in 2012, they gave Barrett honors for being Woodbridge's top cop for the first quarter of the year.
Captain Roy Hoppock read the Officer of the Quarter Award as Barrett stood nearby.
"I'm good," said Barrett, when asked how he felt with all the honors being heaped upon him. He was serious and stalwart throughout the presentation, but broke into a wide grin when his wife and baby daughter joined him for a photo op.
"I hope I can continue to help the community," Barrett added. He said he couldn't reply to any questions about the shooting, until he was given permission by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.
On March 8, Barrett was working an extra duty security job at near the Sears store when he heard a commotion. Several mall security guards were trying to grab a shoplifter - , 44, of Paterson.
Garcia was wanted for parole violations; he was out of jail after having served time for robbery.
As Garcia approached the mall entrance to Sears, he pulled out a knife, grabbed a 62-year-old shopper, and held the weapon to her throat, after repeatedly saying he'd kill her.
Barrett told Garcia several times to drop the knife, which he refused to do. , killing Garcia instantly with a shot to the head.
The shopper was shaken, but unharmed in the incident.