Three months after his older brother was shot dead outside a Boynton Beach convenience store, Samuel Barber III turned a gun on the twin of his sibling’s accused killer Wednesday.
Barber, 33, told Boynton Beach police the point-blank range shooting that evening outside of his mother’s home was in self-defense. Records indicate Barber shot Kunta Kinte Riddick, 40, in the back and the face while Riddick was on the ground in a yard in the city’s Cherry Hills neighborhood, not even one-half mile from where Barber’s brother, Derrick, was killed Sept. 4.
After shooting Riddick, Barber drove from the 400 block of Northwest 12th Avenue a mile south to the Boynton Beach police headquarters. When he arrived, authorities say he had a gun in his waistband. The man who longtime friend Ericka Gonder called a “big friendly giant” was detained and taken in for questioning.
“I’ve never known him to pick a fight,” Gonder said about Barber. “Sam doesn’t bother anybody.”
Barber, who is the father of two little girls and who had been working in real estate, was arrested hours later on a second-degree murder charge. Judge Dina Keever-Agrama ordered Barber held without bond during a hearing Thursday morning at the Palm Beach County Jail.
His sister, Samantha, told reporters after the hearing that she believes the shooting was self-defense — and not retaliation for Derrick Barber’s killing.
“I know my brother, and I know that he wouldn’t do it just on purpose,” Samantha Barber said.
Cynthia Ballard, a neighbor of Barber’s mother, said she was chatting with her friend Riddick on Wednesday evening in her Boynton Beach home. Riddick noticed a man looking in a window and became increasingly anxious. He wanted to leave through the back door to get to his car, Ballard said, and when he did, he came face to face with Barber.
“What the (expletive) are you doing here?” Barber said he told Riddick when Riddick walked out of the home. Barber had been talking with his mother outside.
“What the (expletive) is it to you?” Riddick reportedly responded. Ballard told authorities that Riddick said that he didn’t want to fight Barber.
Ballard said Barber brought Riddick to the ground. She and Barber’s mother tried to pull the men apart, but Riddick reportedly reached for a 2-by-4 with a nail sticking out of it and Barber reached for the gun in his waistband. The witnesses gave police conflicting statements as to who reached for a weapon first, or whether Riddick reached for one at all.
What is known is that shortly before 5 p.m., Barber shot Riddick at point-blank range, killing Riddick before rescue crews had a chance to save him.
The medical examiner found two gunshot wounds in Riddick’s back and one in his jaw, near his neck.
Authorities arrested Barber on the second-degree murder charge due to “the fact that Barber arrived at a residence that Riddick was visiting, had an opportunity to avoid confrontation with Riddick by leaving the scene and the inconsistencies with Barber’s story and that of the evidence presented on the scene,” the arrest report states.
The Riddick and Barber families have known each other for decades, relatives have told The Post. And along the way Derrick Barber, 35, and Kunta Riddick started seeing the same woman.
Late on Sept. 4, the men, both fathers of seven, confronted each other outside the MLK Quick Stop on Northeast 10th Avenue, near Seacrest Boulevard and a few blocks southeast of Wednesday’s shooting site. Witnesses told the 26-year-old woman who the men had been seeing that Derrick Barber knocked Riddick out.
The woman walked up to the store as the fight was ending, she told police. Then she heard gunfire.
According to police records, surveillance-camera footage from that night captured Kelcey Riddick — Kunta’s twin brother — walking into the convenience store. A few seconds later, the footage shows Derrick Barber heading toward its entrance. Kelcey Riddick opens the door and fatally shoots him.
Police found Derrick Barber, a Delray Beach resident, lying in the parking lot with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was faceup with his legs partially inside the back of a Dodge Journey SUV. Hundreds of people gathered outside the store in the hours after Barber was killed.
Word quickly spread that “Twin” was the shooter. “Through numerous previous encounters,” police knew “Twin” meant Kelcey Riddick. Kelcey and Kunta Riddick, whose criminal histories go back decades, were among 16 men arrested in a yearlong drug operation Boynton police announced Tuesday.
Kunta Riddick was arrested on armed drug trafficking charges during Hurricane Irma — not even a week after Derrick Barber was killed — at a Boca Raton hotel, Boynton police said. Kelcey Riddick was picked up on the drug charges when he turned himself in to police in the homicide case. The state decided not to file the drug charges against the twins.