Slain brothers-in-law were just in wrong place, family says

Wife says husband and brother killed in a double shooting near Rock Hill

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — Family members said Tim Barber and Robbin Thompson were brothers-in-law who acted like brothers.

They were kind, funny and dedicated to their loved ones and children.

[Deputies: Son, 17, charged with murder after parents found dead in Watauga Co. home]

Content Continues Below

Both men were shot and killed Friday night in an incident that defies explanation.

"I had been hoping this was a bad dream," said Barber's wife Renea.

She told Channel 9's South Carolina Bureau reporter Greg Suskin the men went to a house on Rivercrest Road to pick up some cabinets made by a friend, whom they had known for years.

The same friend made most of the cabinets in Barber's home, which now has a white wreath hanging on the porch.

When they got there, the friend wasn't at home but told them by phone he would be there soon.

However, Renea told Channel 9 the man's nephew, Jimar Neely, was waiting there and shot and killed both men.

According to family members, they had no idea who he was.

Friends said there was some family issue between Neely and his uncle who lived at the home and was making the cabinets for Barber's father.

"We shouldn't have lost our loved ones because of this. They had nothing to do with that. That's unfair.  That is so unfair." Renea said.

Barber was 55 years old and worked at the Catawba Nuclear Station for nearly 30 years. He was a leader in his Rock Hill church and a dedicated father and husband. Co-workers at the nuclear station told Channel 9 on Wednesday they are all in prayer for his family.

His brother-in-law Thompson, was 50 years old and was a truck driver. He was soon to be married and was devoted to his daughter.

York County sheriff's deputies said after Neely shot both men, he tried to break into a house on Red River Road and shots were fired.

He then fired at sheriff's deputies who spotted his car leaving the scene.

They returned fire, injuring Neely, who took off running but was caught and arrested.

He faces 11 charges, including two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder for firing at three sheriff's deputies.

Renea said she doesn't expect to ever get the real answers she wants about how her husband and brother, going to pick up some custom-built cabinets, could leave and never come home.

"I want to know why he did that. I mean, that was brutal. He shot them three times each," she said.  "I want justice."

Both men will be buried Thursday following a double funeral. They leave behind large, devastated families and a grieving community.