Universal City teen brutally beaten and kidnapped, police say

Upstairs neighbor in police custody

UNIVERSAL CITY – A man has been arrested after a brutal kidnapping at an apartment complex in Universal City left a teen traumatized and neighbors too afraid to speak.

The incident happened at The Colony apartment complex, located in the 300 block of Kitty Hawk Road, around 4 p.m., Feb. 25.

Police said a 16-year-old boy was getting out of his vehicle in front of his apartment when a man approached and forced him into the laundry room, which was located right next door.

According to a police report, the suspect allegedly attacked the teen and even threatened to shoot him before eventually taking him to another apartment, which is located directly above the teen’s unit.

It was during the attack when the teen sent a text message to his parents to call 911 for help, according to police documents.

After taking the teen to the upstairs unit, police said the suspect took a pair of pants to restrain him and robbed him of his belongings. Before freeing the teen, officials said the suspect also went through the teen’s pockets and took his apartment keys.

The teen left the apartment, made it to his car and drove away for safety to the 1400 block of Pat Booker, where he immediately called for help, according to an affidavit.

James Barnett Jr., 24, is charged with aggravated kidnapping. Police said Barnett Jr. has a history of violence and has been involved in assaults before this one, including an assault on a police officer.

RELATED: Woman arrested at North Side hotel, charged with aggravated kidnapping, SA police say

About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.

Before starting KSAT in 2017, Lee was a photojournalist at KENS 5, where he won a Lone Star Emmy in 2014 for Best Weather Segment. In 2009 and 2010 Lee garnered first-place awards with the Texas Association of Broadcasters for Best Investigative Series in College Station, as well as winning first place for Staff Photojournalism in 2011 at KBTX.