Barton’s father, Will, mother Marie Najera and stepfather R.J. Lonsdale were on hand along with family friends and supporters.
“This is just unbelievable,” the senior Barton shouted over the music as he surveyed the jammed Humphreys Backstage Lounge.
Barton’s 20-year-old son, a 2010 PLHS alum, was shot three times in the early morning hours of Oct. 29 as he walked to his dad’s house after a late-night restaurant work shift. The shooter, a wanted criminal who mistook Barton for a police officer, was shot to death in a shootout with police on Halloween night in Barrio Logan.
Though the younger Barton was given less than a 1 percent chance of survival, Barton has watched his son fight through grave injuries to reach his current rehabilitation battle. One bullet remains lodged in his son’s brain.
Three weeks in intensive care, multiple surgeries and the intense work of dozens of doctors and physical therapists has run up astronomical medical bills on Barton’s insurance. Adding further stress, the insurance company has reportedly attempted to evict the younger Barton from the rehabilitation facility where he undergoes hours of daily work therapy while learning to walk again.
But on Jan. 19, the music of three different bands kept the energy level high inside the Shelter Island venue, as the six-hour event saw donors show up by the dozens from the moment doors opened.
A $10 donation was requested at the door by event organizer Rhonda Pitta and a crew of volunteers. Participants gingerly moved about the standing-room-only space, selling raffle tickets for items that were given away hourly during band breaks and changes.
In the facility’s hallway, Pitta’s helpers set up about three dozen donated items up for silent auction, including a one-week stay in a Vail, Colo. resort, sportfishing trips and much more. Donors swarmed over the items, adding their names to lists even after the auction prices had exceeded the items’ stated values.
Lines at the lounge bar were six or more deep as Peninsula residents partied in support of one of their own.
Bands included Temple of the Dads, The Mike Britt Band and The Weener Pigs.
Humphreys donated the lounge’s use.
Donations to assist with Barton’s medical bills continue to be accepted through the “Friends of Will Barton Fund” at Chase Bank, 1740 Rosecrans St., San Diego 92106.
Cards and letters may be sent to Barton at 3366 Herman Ave., San Diego, 92104.