A well known barber was shot and killed in the driver’s seat of his BMW at around midnight on Monday in Queens, ABC7 reported.
A gunman shot 32-year-old Zanu Simpson in the head at South Conduit and Lansing Avenue in Laurelton. Simpson was pronounced dead at Jamaica hospital.
Police were searching for the perpetrator early on Tuesday.
Simpson was well known in the Hollis neighborhood of Queens because he ran Strictly Skillz Barbershop with his brother, who posted an emotional farewell on the barbershop’s Facebook page.
“His brother Sam is taking it very hard,” cousin Ian Buddington said. “We left him at the house with family members praying and encouraging him.”
The suspect was dressed in grey sweatpants and fled in a silver vehicle. A witness passing Simpson’s BMW saw a man punching him through the window and called 9-1-1.
Police believe Simpson was a premeditated target.
Dino McCain, a resident in Simpson’s Hollis neighborhood, told ABC7, “I’m not going to finish crying because I’ve known him since he was 10 years old. It’s a shame that it happened.”
Investigators say that the murder may have resulted from recent social media posts. Simpson was popular online and police are combing through posts that may have been taunts.
“My sons come to this barbershop,” neighbor Marie Miguel said. “They’re taking it real bad. My grandson this morning, he woke up. He said, ‘Grandma, my barber died.”
Simpson had just left Breezes Island Grill Restaurant and Lounge before the shooting. Police are looking into whether an altercation took place inside.
Locals say that Simpson and his brother were prominent members of the community.
“Once a year, when it came close to school opening, they would go out and spend money buying books for the children,” Buddington said. “Mothers who couldn’t afford cuts here for their children, they would do it free of cost.”
The neighborhood flooded onto the street at night mourning the loss.
Simpson’s brother posted hearbreaking messages on the barbershop Facebook page throughout the night.
“I’m at a lost for words the worst thing I ever wanted to hear was that they hurt you in these streets,” he wrote in one message. “I’m glad I always told that you was the other half of me when they saw me they ask where your brother at. Now I don’t know what to tell them all them memories I will never forget them. Sleep in please my brother love you to death bro.”
People with information regarding this incident are asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).