A dressage rider sobbed as she told a court how her ex-coach – a former Olympian – shot her in a dispute about rent.
Athlete Lauren Kanarek, 41, was overcome with emotion as she told of how Michael Barisone, 57, shot her at the farm he owned in Morris County, New Jersey, in August 2019.
‘It was almost unreal to me I had gotten shot,’ Kanarek said during Wednesday’s hearing at Barisone’s attempted murder trial. He denies the charge. Kanarek was filmed struggling to speak and compose herself while a recording of the chaotic incident was played to the court.
She claims she was on a telephone call with an attorney when Barisone ‘pulled out a gun, pointed it at both her and her fiancé Rob Goodwin, and ‘boom, boom, just like that,’ he shot her, according to Law & Crime.
She alleges that she was shot but Barisone’s aim narrowly missed Goodwin, and shared a photo of what she said were gunshot wounds on Instagram.
At the time of the shooting, Kanarek was a tenant on Barisone’s farm in Morris County, New Jersey where she says Barisone and his girlfriend Mary Haskins Gray were bullies to her. But the couple allege Kanarek had fallen behind on rent.
Lauren Kanarek made an emotional courtroom appearance on Wednesday
Kanarek shared a photo on Instagram that she claims was the gunshot wound inflicted by Barisone
Kanarek accused former Olympic equestrian Michael Barisone, pictured in court Wednesday, of trying to shoot her following a dispute over rent
Barisone’s girlfriend Mary Haskins Gray, pictured Wednesday, testified in support of her accused boyfriend
To this end, she made a complaint to SafeSport-an Olympic and Paralympic anti-abuse organization.
Gray, though, says that Kanarek made threats to her and Barisone on social media.
‘We were terrified of what it was building to, and what was coming next,’ she said. ‘[Barisone] was absolutely petrified and terrified.’
Dr. Ruth Cox, who gave Barisone the gun, said that her fiancé also engaged in this behavior, threatening both her and Barisone.
The judge, though, said that only Barisone’s state of mind was relevant to the case.
Dr Cox could not recall the exact nature of the threats.
‘I do not remember the specific words, but it was around–He was not going to let Michael determine what was going on with him and his girlfriend’s horses,’ she said.
Kanarek admits that she did write ‘unflattering’ things online about the pair but stops short at calling them ‘threats.’
She added that Barisone’s temperament was unpredictable.
He could be ‘hilariously funny, charming, and nice.’ she said.
Barisone, seen here in 2014, rides Ellegria in the FEI Grand Prix Special of the United States Dressage Festival of Champions in Gladstone, New Jersey.
‘On other days, Barisone seemed angry, and even screamed at a staff member. At that point, you would know better to keep your distance.’
NJ.com reported in 2019 that there were often arguments between the two and that police were called to the farm multiple times.
‘They’re causing trouble, they’re stirring s— up. They’re here in our private horse facility, and these people need to be warned,’ Barisone growled to 911 dispatchers on July 31. ‘This is a war and it’s going to be dealt with right now. I’ve had enough of these people. I need them gone.’
Barisone competed in the 2008 Olympic Equestrian Team that competed in Beijing. He also coached a rider who won a bronze medal in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.
Kanarek is a a United States Dressage Federation and U.S. Equestrian Federation Olympic Bronze Medalist, according to her Twitter account. She references the incident in her bio with a #GunViolenceSURVIVOR hashtag and calls herself a political activist.