Senior Constable Barnett was murdered soon after 1.00 am on Monday, 1st February 1858, at the White Hills Goldfield near Carisbrook. He had been attempting to arrest William Brook, who had just shot and killed a restaurateur named Charles Lopez during a bungled attempted robbery. Brook, who had been severely wounded in a struggle with Lopez, fired at Barnett whilst attempting to escape, and one of his bullets struck the policeman in the heart fatally wounding him. The murderer's efforts were in vain, however, for he was soon arrested, and died later that same day from stab wounds inflicted by Lopez. The deaths of Lopez and Barnett enraged a local community already incensed by the actions of the 'undesirable elements' who had been attracted to the rush and who preyed on the diggers. Later that day a crowd of some 1500 miners assembled, and the 'undesirables' became a target for their vengeance. The meeting soon developed into a riot during which numerous buildings were destroyed and people assaulted before peace was re-established.