Frederick E. Barrett, 48, the developer of a highly successful radio tuner and the first chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, was found shot to death Sept. 1 in Druid Hill Park in Baltimore.
A spokesman for the Baltimore city police said the body was found near the offices of United Sounds of America Inc., one of several electronics firms Mr. Barrett founded.
The spokesman said Eugene Worsley, 18, of Anne Arundel County, and Herbert Nelson Yancey, 26, of East Baltimore, were arrested Sept. 3 and charged in connection with the shooting. Police declined to discuss possible motives.
Mr. Barrett, a native of Jamaica who had lived in this country since 1952, told The Washington Post last year that it was his ambition to own a "black General Electric." In fact, he had an early and substantial success in the electronics business. Ironically, his service as chairman of the CPSC from 1973 to 1974 drove him to the edge of financial ruin. By the time of his death, he appeared to be on the way to recovering his fortunes.
He was the creator of the Sequerra I tuner, which Modern Hi Fi and Music magazine has described as "the finest performing tuner ever." Japan's leading hi-fi magazine awarded it its coveted "state of the art" award.
In 1981, Mr. Barrett took over an abandoned warehouse in part of Baltimore's "enterprise zone" and set up United Sounds of America Inc., to manufacture the Sequerra I. He hired unemployed young blacks and turned them into skilled workers. By 1982, he had 12 on his payroll.
"The great thing is that we've already got a lead product with an international reputation," he told The Post. "I don't mean to sound immodest, but we could build the City of Baltimore."
His optimism survived some difficult times. Mr. Barrett, a resident of Potomac, lived in New York City when he first came to this country. He graduated from Northeastern University in Boston and returned to New York as an electronics engineer for Comspace Corp. With the help of the Small Business Administration, he founded the Barrett Group Corp., which made industrial and military communications equipment and had $4 million in annual sales.
In 1973, Mr. Barrett was appointed chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. He declined the salary and insisted on working for $1 a year.
His position in government started his troubles. Because he was no longer in day-to-day charge of his company, the SBA ruled he was no longer eligible for its special program to provide government contracts for minority-owned enterprises. Without the contracts, he could not meet payments on a $350,000 SBA loan. In 1974, he left government.
He had to lay off 129 workers. He lost $500,000 he had borrowed from family and friends. The SBA sued him. The Economic Development Administration worked out a package that included the refinancing of debts and a new batch of government contracts, but it dropped the plan when Mr. Barrett's defaulted loan to the SBA was referred to the Justice Department. It was from this state of affairs that Mr. Barrett eventually developed United Sounds of America.
Survivors include his wife, Betty, a son, Dean, and three daughters, Monique, Michelle and Mar-Jeau, all of Potomac; a sister, Barbara Barrett Robinson of Jamaica, and a brother, Llwelyn of Freeport, N.Y.
An obituary in Wednesday's editions of The Washington Post about Frederick E. Barrett, 48, who was found shot to death in Baltimore on Sept. 1, contained incorrect information about his service at the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Mr. Barrett was the agency's first executive director and served from 1973 to 1974.