American Olympian Michael Barisone Charged With 2 Counts of Attempted Murder In Shooting at his New Jersey Training Center

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Michael Barisone (right) coach of Allison Brock with Fritz and Claudine Kundren, owners of Rosevelt, and U.S. team coach Robert Dover at the 2016 Olympics where the United States won team bronze. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Aug. 8, 2019

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

American Olympian Michael Barisone was charged Thursday with two counts of attempted murder in the shooting of a rider at his New Jersey farm. He was also charged with two weapons counts.

Filing of two counts of attempted murder in the first degree were announced by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. If convicted of attempted murder, he faces imprisonment of 10 to 30 years and a minimum sentence of three years on each weapons count, according to New Jersey statutes.

The woman with two gunshot wounds to the chest was operated on Wednesday night after the shooting at Hawthorne Hill in Long Valley, New Jersey the home of Michael Barisone and Barisone Dressage and about 55 miles/88 km west of New York City.

The wounded woman was identified as Lauren Kanarek who had lived at least part-time on the farm. She was reported in critical but stable condition at the Morristown Medical Center Thursday.

Two others were injured in the incident, including her fiancé, who suffered a broken wrist, NJ.com quoted a friend. Michael Barisone was the other person injured. These injuries were believed to have been caused when Lauren’s fiancé tried to disarm Michael after several shots had been fired.

Michael, 54, has been in custody since shortly after the shooting at the 53-acre/21.4 ha farm.

He is expected to be arraigned in Morris County Court Friday morning.

Michael was a member of the U.S. team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but did not ride as teams were restricted to three combinations. His team mates who did ride were Debbie McDonald on Brentina, Steffen Peters on Ravel and Courtney King-Dye on Mythilus.

He coached Allison Brock on the U.S. team that won bronze at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Michael Barisone (left) with USA dressage team mates Debbie McDonald, Courtney King-Dye and Steffen Peters at Hong Kong for the Beijing Olympics. © 2008 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Lauren Kanarek’s Facebook page said she attended Livingston Senior High School in New Jersey, in 1998; studied legal procedure at Guilford College, in Greensboro, North Carolina and political science at Hollins University, Roanoke, Virginia.

She reported she was competing in dressage, was a U.S. Dressage Federation bronze medalist and was training with Michael Barisone with the goal of becoming an instructor.

Lauren had written on her Facebook page that she planned to file a complaint against Michael with United States Center for SafeSport, an independent body that investigates sexual misconduct in Olympic sports.

″I’m being bullied by a 6-foot-3-inch man,” she wrote. “Bullied to the point I’m afraid. It’s very complicated–I’m not sure what I can say on here–but it seems as if Safe Sport was created exactly for this reason.”.

In a separate post, Lauren said she was told to “sleep with one eye open.”

In addition to the New Jersey training center, Barisone Dressage also operates a training facility in Loxahatchee, Florida, a community with extensive equestrian operations and adjacent to Wellington, home of the Global Dressage Festival, the Winter Equestrian Festival of jumpers and hunters and International Polo Club.

Ownership of the equestrian properties were issues in the divorce of Michael and his now ex-wife, Vera Kessels, from a family prominent in Dutch horse sports.

The official statement from Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Acting Chief of Investigations Christoph Kimker, and Chief Jeffrey Almer of the Washington Township Police Department announced the charges.

“At approximately 2:13 p.m. on August 7, police received a 9-1-1 call requesting service at 411 West Mill Road for a female with gunshot wounds,” the statement said. “Washington Township Police responded to the scene and located one female who had sustained what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds.

“The defendant, Michael Barisone, and a second male victim were also located at the scene. A handgun was also recovered.

“As a result of the investigation into this incident, the defendant was charged with two counts of attempted murder, crimes of the first degree, and two counts of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, crimes of the second degree.”