Kleo Y. Barrett was born October 13, 1980 to the union of Pastor T.L. and Cleopatra Barrett. Kleo was the youngest daughter of 7 children born to that union.
On March 31, 2007 tragedy struck:
When we arrived at Church that morning, we realized something was wrong when we didn’t see Kleo, who was always at church when she didn’t have to work. After church was over, we decided to go to the police department and see if they would file a missing person report for us. The police told us that we had to wait because she hadn’t been missing long enough, that’s when we decided to break into her apartment on S. Michigan and start our own investigation. Within hours, the 2nd in command at the police department was at the house and gave us the full cooperation of the Chicago Police Department.
Reports from the Tribune:
As Barrett’s family prayed in the lobby of a condominium building early Monday, police knocked down the door of a resident. Inside, they found the bodies of Barrett, 27, a Cook County sheriff’s deputy who is the daughter of a prominent South Side minister, and he ex-boyfried, 31.
Police said Monday that the individual likely killed his ex-girlfriend and then himself.
For much of Monday, dozens of parishioners filed into Life Center Church of God in Christ, 5500 S. Indiana Ave., to comfort Barrett’s father, Rev. T.L. Barrett, who has been pastor there for 39 years. As light streamed into a cavernous sanctuary through stained-glass windows, women dabbed their tears and men hung their heads.
“She was an incredible human being, and I think she will make a more incredible angel,” said Rev. Barrett.
Kleo Barrett had worked as a sheriff’s deputy since July 2004 and was assigned to the Juvenile Courts, the Cook County sheriff’s police said.
In a prepared statement, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said Barrett was “always very professional and hardworking in her duties, and was known as a deeply religious and family-oriented woman.”
The youngest of 13 siblings, Kleo Barrett was raised on the city’s South Side. Family members said they last heard from her about 5:30 p.m. Saturday when she called her sister, with whom she had planned to go to a birthday party, and said she was 5 to 10 minutes away from meeting her.
Rev. Barrett said he suspected something was wrong as he drove home from Memphis on Saturday and realized he hadn’t heard from Kleo, who he said called every day and every night to say, “I love you,” or ask, “Do you need anything?”
When Kleo Barrett didn’t call and didn’t show up for Sunday services at her father’s church, the Barrett family grew worried.
“That’s when we definitely knew something was wrong,” said her brother Torrey.
The family filed a missing persons report that afternoon.
The first break came after the 5 p.m. news Sunday when a church member told the Barrett family she had seen Kleo Barrett filling up at a gas station at 76th Street and Jeffery Boulevard. After connecting the description of the man to her ex-boyfried, her family went to his condo in the 7000 block of South Oglesby Avenue and found her car parked on the corner with the sunroof open, Torrey Barrett said.
As they waited in the lobby, police made the grisly discovery.
Questions and Answers:
1. Who was Kleo Barrett? Kleo Y Barrett was born on October 13, 1980. She was the youngest of 7 children born of Pastor T.L. and Cleopatra Barrett. Kleo was 27 years old at the time of her death and was a Deputy Sheriff for Cook County Sheriff department. Kleo was also a Minister in Training at Life Center Church of God in Christ.
2. What motivated you to start the Kleo Center? – At the time of her death, Kleo was my best friend. We traveled together and kept each other company often. Kleo and I have always talked about doing something to help deal with the growing rise of violence in the community and we decided to rehab a building next door to our father’s church and start a community center to help provide a safe haven for children in the community. 6 months after the start of the construction of the building, Kleo was murdered. I decided to name the organization after her, in honor of the type of life she lived. God later revealed to a member of our church, that her name is now an acronym that means Keep Loving Each Other.
3. Does the Kleo cater to domestic violence victims? – In order to eradicate domestic violence you have to work with the perpetrators as well as the victims. KLEO does both. For perpetrators, we provide counseling as well as peer to peer mentorship. For victims, we provide emergency shelter, peer to peer mentorship and individual and career counseling. The organization also deals with education, violence prevention, hunger relief and real estate development.
4. This month, is domestic violence month, does it has significant to you and your family and is that why you have the gala in October? – It does have a huge significant for our family. Kleo was born in October, which is 1 reason we do the gala in October to celebrate her birth, the other reason is because this month is dedicated to bring awareness to the issue that is often not talked about. We believe the Kleo’s life was sacrificed so that others could live. We want to bring as much attention to the issue in hopes to eventually stop senseless violence. We also host an Open Mic dedicated to Domestic Violence each year at the Center during the month of October. This year’s date is October 9th and the show starts at 8:00pm.
5. Your father is a pastor, right?. Does he still hold services and where us his church? My father is a Pastor. Pastor T.L. Barrett, Jr. He holds services at 8:00am and 10:30am on Sunday Mornings and 7:00pm on Wednesday evenings at Life Center Church of God in Christ located at 5500 S. Indiana Ave.
6. You are a pastor as well? When did that happen and is that you’re true calling? – I am a Pastor. I joined the ministry in June of 2007, 3 months after the death of my sister. My true calling is to become a Piece of the Peace. I believe that God put me on this earth to help make His kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven. Peace is possible, but we have to stop saying that “it’s not my problem”. It is ours’ entire problem. If you’re not part of the solution you are part of the problem. So while I don’t necessary believe that “being a pastor” is my “true calling”, I believe that being a disciple for God’s kingdom is my true calling and being a pastor is part of me fulfilling my obligation to fulfilling God’s prophecy.
7. What do you want your late beloved sister’s memory to be?- In her own words, this is off of her MySpace page… “I am caring, loving, fun, peaceful, sharing, and spiritually in tune with My Holy Father…and that is God The GOOD! I love life and I live to enjoy it! I love to make others happy whether I know you or not…if I can put a smile on someone’s face by saying good morning, good night, giving you a compliment or simply just being nice, then it makes me feel that much better to know I brought a smile to your face:)…so to you reading this, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, SMILE I won’t complain because everyone and everything is by God’s Divine Design”. — So I want her memory to be one who encouraged others to Keep Loving Each Other.
8. What’s the future of the Kleo Center and how do you plan to grow and expand its mission? – The future of the Center is to become an anchor and a safe haven in the community that we serve and to expand to every major city in the US with an international presence as well. We want to build the Human Capital development of these communities in addition to the Physical Development. In order to reach this mission, we are seeking individuals that believe they have the skill set that we need to reach out to us and contribute their Piece of the Peace.
9. What is your family life like? How does that balance you from the center and ministry? – My family is awesome. I have a loving wife and two beautiful children. They exemplify what KLEO stands for. There is love and peace in my house, and that is needed in order for me to continue to fight the good fight every day. When I’m home, I’m just daddy!