MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Merced police are searching for the person who shot and killed the taxi driver. The victim was also a father, grandfather, and former police officer.
Family members are coming together in Merced to mourn the loss of 59-year-old Dean Barker. The taxi driver was shot during his overnight shift at an apartment complex on Mimi Lane. He later died at Mercy Medical Center.
Dean's son Michael Barker said, "I work at the hospital and we got a call that somebody was coming in who was shot, and everybody kept asking if that's your family member, and I kept saying that's not him, and it didn't even look like my dad."
But Monday morning, Michael discovered the tragic truth.
Michael explained, "I came home and sent my dad several texts asking if he was okay, and he never responded."
Dean had worked for Merced Taxi Cab Company for about five years, but his son says before that he was a reserve sheriff's deputy and worked for the Chowchilla Police Department. He also served as a Dos Palos police officer from 1988-1993. But Michael says law enforcement became too stressful, and his father enjoyed interacting with people as a taxi driver. Amanda Hage and her husband were among his regular customers.
Amanda added, "I have friends who have gotten rides to the grocery store, and he would actually help bring the groceries in, so he would go above and beyond to make sure people were safe and got home safely. He was more of a friend, from the minute you got in his cab, he was talking to you and very friendly and very likable man, and I can't believe this happened to someone like that."
Barker had four sons, three step children, and six grandchildren. Loved ones now hope he'll be remembered for going the extra mile for family, friends, and anyone who needed a pick me up.
Michael said, "My dad was a kind and generous person he would do anything you needed, he would do it for you."
Anyone who would like to help the family can make donations to the Dean Allen Barker Estate at EECU. The family is also working to set up a gofundme account.
Merced taxi driver shot and killed, police searching for suspect
The taxi driver was shot during his overnight shift at an apartment complex on Mimi Lane. He later died at Mercy Medical Center.
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