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Gastonia woman is choked

By Elisabeth Arriero and Amanda Albright
earriero@charlotteobserver.com aalbright@charlotteobserver.com

GASTONIA A Gastonia woman was choked and a 14-week-old kitten died during a domestic altercation between a Charlotte firefighter and the woman, Gaston County police said Monday.

Bryan Carlton Barfield, 29, is charged with two felonies: assault by strangulation and cruelty to animals.

He’s also been accused of three misdemeanors: communicating threats and two counts of assault inflicting serious injury.

Capt. Steve Jentsch with the Gaston County Police said Barfield and the woman were fighting Thursday night into Friday morning. The incident was reported Friday night.

The 29-year-old woman was strangled during the altercation, Jentsch said.

The 6-foot-0, 240-pound Barfield is accused of dragging the woman around the house, choking her, punching her in the face and hitting her head against a dishwasher, causing a fractured wrist, a cut above her eye and another cut on her lip, according to the warrant affidavit, the Gaston Gazette reported.

“At some point during the night, the victim in the case advised that the cat was abused,” Jentsch said.

Jentsch said that during the “prolonged incident” between the couple, the kitten was thrown in a toilet and kicked. When officers arrived, they discovered that the kitten was dead.

“How exactly it died, I don’t know.”

The affidavit alleges that Barfield maliciously tortured and beat the kitten by choking it, throwing it against a wall, dunking it in the toilet numerous times, slamming the toilet seat on the cat’s head and kicking it across the yard as if punting a football, the Gazette reported.

Barfield was booked into jail just before 2:30 a.m. Saturday and held under $50,000 bond. His bond was reduced Monday to $10,000.

In a statement Monday, Charlotte Fire Department Capt. Rob Brisley said Barfield had been placed on paid administration duty pending the outcome of legal proceedings.

“As the investigation is ongoing, I am unable to comment on the details of this case,” Charlotte Fire Chief Jon Hannan said in a statement.

“However, I want our citizens to know we hold our firefighters to a high standard of conduct in order to maintain the trust and respect of our community.”

Barfield is a Firefighter I, according to city records, and his yearly salary is $46,978.36. He was hired in October 2011 and is based at Fire Station 1, on North Myers Street in uptown Charlotte.

That station answers calls in the center city, at nearby uptown apartment complexes and at Central Piedmont Community College.

A criminal records search conducted by the Observer showed that Barfield had only previously been charged with minor traffic violations before Saturday. Staff researcher Maria David contributed.

Arriero: 704-358-5945; Twitter: @earriero
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