Police: Foul play not a factor in gay man’s death

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imageFoul play is not suspected in the June 3 death of Greg Barrett, a gay man and longtime Atlanta Pride volunteer, but the case will remain open until the results of toxicology tests are known, according to police.

Barrett, 43, died while spending the night at the Adair Park home of a friend in southwest Atlanta. The results of an autopsy performed Friday are pending until the return of toxicology results, which could take more than six weeks, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office.

While police await the results, the case remains open but “there doesn’t appear to be foul play” involved in Barrett’s death, according to Sgt. Curtis Davenport, a spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department.

“It appears to be nothing suspicious, so we are not classifying it as a homicide,” Davenport says.

Barrett arrived at the home about 3 p.m. on Wednesday. He took a single Levitra tablet and inhaled poppers, according to a police incident report. When the friend went to wake Barrett the next morning about 9:30 a.m., he didn’t respond so the man called for an ambulance. An emergency crew said Barrett was dead when they arrived, according to the report.

Levitra is a prescription drug that treats erectile dysfunction and is similar to Viagra. But when mixed with the recreational drug poppers – also known as amyl nitrate ad butyl nitrate – the combination can prove deadly. Both drugs dilate blood vessels and cause blood pressure to drop, which can limit the amount of oxygen and blood flowing to the heart.

Warnings contained in Levitra packaging advise against taking it with any nitrates.

Barrett was a veteran volunteer for Atlanta Pride and served as chair of its operations committee for nearly two decades. The operations committee is responsible for all of the festival’s equipment and triages all logistical needs, security, personnel, market, first aid and most any other requests.

“Even if people didn’t know Greg, he was a shining example of all the unsung people doing the work for the LGBT organizations in Atlanta,” JP Sheffield, Pride’s executive director, told Project Q Atlanta on Thursday. “They’re not the people who get their names in the paper; they’re not the people who win awards or get invited to the big soirees. But they do the work every day.”

Barrett’s legacy—with Pride, as well as volunteer coordinator for Atlanta AIDS Walk and any volunteer job needed with the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus—rests with all of the other volunteers he represents, Sheffield said.

Friends and family honored Barrett during a memorial service on Monday at Christ Covenant MCC in Decatur.


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