Barber Gunned Down While Cutting 8-Year-Old Boy’s Hair in Washington State

A barber was gunned down Wednesday night while he was cutting the hair of an 8-year-old boy.

The shooting took place inside JQ’s Barber Shop in Puyallup, Washington, which is about 30 miles from Seattle.

The 43-year-old victim, identified as Jose Velez, was shot multiple times in the incident, which took place shortly after 5 p.m., according to KING-TV. The child was reportedly uninjured.

“The suspect walked in and walked to a specific room where this particular barber was working and shot the barber multiple times while a child was in the barber chair,” Puyallup police representative Ryan Portmann said, according to the News-Tribune.

“It does not appear that robbery was a motive,” Portmann said.

Portmann said that by the time Central Pierce Fire and Rescue arrived on the scene, the victim was dead.

According to KING, Velez was the owner of the shop.

At the time of the shooting, the boy getting a haircut, mother,  one other barber and another customer were in the shop.  None of them were injured in the incident.

The gunman fled the scene and had not been arrested as of Thursday evening.

Police described shooting suspect as being about 5 feet, 8 inches tall. He was wearing all-black clothing, police said.

Police said they believe the shooting was targeted, and not random.

Friends and family held a vigil outside the barber shop Thursday, KING reported. They remembered Jose as a loving father, husband and community member who gave free haircuts to those in need and spent time mentoring budding barbers like Hasune Mawlood.

“He was more than a mentor, he was a brother to me,” Mawlood told the news outlet. Velez gave him a job at 16 and threatened to fire him if he didn’t keep his grades up.

The tough love worked. “I got my grades up,” Mawlood said, and at 19, he now owns his own barber shop in Tacoma.  “I loved him. He was like a big brother to me,” he said of Velez.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.