NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Queens community was shocked and saddened Tuesday after a barber was shot and killed.
As CBS2’s Erin Logan reported, balloons and candles were placed in tribute late Tuesday outside Zanu Simpson’s shop in Hollis, Queens. Police said Simpson, 32, was killed while sitting in his car outside the Breezes Island Grill restaurant in Springfield Gardens.
The gunman remained on the loose late Tuesday as investigators tried to piece together the murder mystery.
Logan spoke with the victim’s brother, Sam Simpson.
“I was next to him 14 hours a day,” he said.
Sam Simpson never imagined Monday afternoon would be the last time seeing his brother.
Police said they got a 911 call around 12:15 a.m. Tuesday that a man was shot multiple times in the head while sitting in his car at the corner of South Conduit and Lansing avenues.
He was parked just around the corner from Breezes. Police say there were no reports of Simpson in any trouble while he was inside.
Sources told CBS2 a man approached Zanu Simpson’s sport-utility vehicle and climbed into the passenger’s seat before a struggle ensued. The man then got out of the car, went to the driver’s side, and ended up shooting into the SUV and killing Simpson, sources said.
For Tricia Greaves, staring at photos of Zanu Simpson — her lifelong friend — is painful and heartwarming. When she got that call that Simpson was shot and killed, she broke down.
“Since second grade, I knew him,” she told CBS2’s Logan. “I’m not only saying this because it’s my good friend. I know him. I know the character. He’s a good person.”
Greaves was devastated as she and others placed the candles, flowers, and balloons outside the Strickly Skillz barbershop.
Everyone stopping by the memorial made it a point to say not only did they lose an unbelievable barber, but a great friend and someone who gives back to the kids every summer.
“We give away 100 book bags. There’s a bouncy house for the kids – food, drinks, and everybody comes even if you’re not a customer,” Sam Simpson said.
Zanu Simpson also took time to take photos with kids in his barbershop and telling them how important education is. He went to college for two years before going into business with his brother in 2005.
“He was a hard working kid — peaceful, didn’t hurt nobody,” Sam Simpson said.
Greaves and her mother, Ingrid Greaves, said Zanu Simpson did not even like to raise his voice.
“You would yell at him and he would hug you,” Tricia Greaves said.
“She would yell at him and and he would just smile,” Ingrid Greaves said. “He was really just an angel. He did not need to die this way.”
The younger Greaves called the person who ended the life of one of her closest friends “evil” and “coldhearted.”
“To take such a good person away,” she said.
Police said Simpson does not have a record. They are looking at investigating every angle including social media. Family members are hoping for some answers soon.