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Prosecutor, City Council candidate dies
Shawn Barlow, the Stanislaus County prosecutor and Turlock City Council candidate, died unexpectedly Sunday morning. - photo by Photo Contributed

Shawn Barlow, the Stanislaus County prosecutor and Turlock City Council candidate, died unexpectedly Sunday morning, leaving a community of family, friends, and colleagues stunned at his sudden passing.

Barlow, 40, died from natural causes according to his family and the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office. He had no known medical problems according to his family.

The news of Barlow’s passing circulated Monday morning at the county courthouse among his teary-eyed colleagues, who weeks earlier experienced the death of Deputy District Attorney Nate Baker, 42. Baker died Aug. 5 at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center while awaiting surgery for a heart condition.

“(Shawn) was a highly motivated and hard working prosecutor,” said District Attorney Birgit Fladager.  “He will be greatly missed by everyone in our office.  The loss of a second experienced, talented and very well-liked prosecutor in such a short period of time is a devastating blow to the office.”

Stanislaus County Supervisor Jeff Grover took a minute at Tuesday’s board meeting to honor the prosecutor with a moment of silence for “the tragic and unexpected passing of Deputy District Attorney Shawn Barlow.”

Barlow was an ardent supporter of Turlock and had filed his candidacy papers earlier this year for a run at one of Turlock’s two open City Council seats. He had earned the endorsements of several public safety organizations, including the Turlock Association of Police Officers and the Turlock Professional Firefighters.

Councilwoman Amy Bublak, who met Barlow years ago through her position as a Modesto police officer, had also thrown her support behind the first-time candidate.

“He was deeply committed to Turlock,” Bublak said. “He had expressed an interest in running for office someday and when Councilmen (Ted) Howze and (Kurt) Spycher announced they weren’t running again, I really encouraged him to seize the opportunity. He was so excited and would text me every day about his campaign and his new endorsements.

“His passing is not only a loss for me personally, but a huge loss for Turlock,” Bublak said.

Barlow came to Turlock in 1984 and graduated from Turlock High School in 1988. He continued his education at California State University, Stanislaus and earned his law degree from the University of Wyoming College of Law.

He returned to his roots in 2002 and started working for the district attorney’s office in 2003. Barlow worked a variety of assignments, including misdemeanor cases and rural crimes. His most recent assignment had him working with the Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency on major narcotics trafficking cases.

“He was an exceptional prosecutor,” said Assistant District Attorney Carol Shipley. “He had passion for his job and compassion for the victims and was very successful in his prosecutions. He was a team player and he will be missed.”

Barlow’s name will still be on the Nov. 2 ballot. Should he receive the most votes, the City Council would have to decide to either fill the seat by appointment of through a special election.

Funeral arrangements for Barlow are still pending. Among his survivors are his mother Glenda Pometta, father Ban Barlow, and fiancée Lindsey Robbins.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.