A Washington barbershop owner was fatally shot Wednesday while he was in the middle of cutting an 8-year-old child’s hair.
The incident occurred just after 5 p.m. at JQ’s Barbershop in Puyallup, – about 30 miles south of Seattle, according to NBC affiliate KING.
The Puyallup Police Department said a man entered the shop and shot 43-year-old Jose Velez several times before fleeing. Authorities believe it was a targeted shooting because the gunman didn't appear to take anything from the shop.
The child, his mother, another barber and one other customer were in the shop when the shooting took place. No else was injured.
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Police are asking area businesses to check security cameras and help them identify the suspect, described as 5’8” tall and wearing “black pants, a black jacket, and possibly a mask.”
Velez was described by friends as a loving father and husband, who was known for giving back to the community and mentoring young barbers.
"It's just heart wrenching,” Shelby McDonald, who works for the business next to the barbershop, told KING.
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A former employee at the shop said Velez was like a brother to him. Hasune Mawlood told KING that Velez gave him a job when he was just 16 years old, telling the then-high schooler that "you can't work here if your grades aren't good."
“He never gave up on me and I never gave up on him," said Hasune, now 19. "It was a really good friendship, good bond."