'We all thought this was a sacred place': Two men injured in shooting at Baltimore barber shop

The Baltimore Sun

A man was shot to death in Southwest Baltimore on Wednesday, and two were injured in a separate shooting at a Hollins Market barbershop that forced nearby elementary and middle school students to be kept in the building after dismissal as a safety precaution, officials said.

The Hollins Market shooting happened in the New Beginnings Unisex Barbershop at 1047 Hollins St., according to neighbors, who expressed shock and sadness that violence had infiltrated what many considered a safe place. The shop stands in a red-brick building at Hollins and South Arlington Avenue, across from Hollins Market.

When officers arrived at the location they found two men, ages 50 and 56, suffering from non-life threatening gunshot wounds.

“We all thought that this was a sacred place,” said Kelly Quinn, who works with community engagement for the University of Maryland and said that the shop’s owner, Troy Staton, is a mainstay of the community.

He hosts block parties and health clinics, and gives free haircuts to people who can’t afford them. “If I ain’t got it, he’ll tighten me up,” said Gary Jones, 42. “That’s a good guy,” he said.

Last year, The Baltimore Sun wrote about a program started by Kaiser Permanente to bring health care to local barbershops, including New Beginnings.

"We are here to help the community, and the health of the community is not as good as it should be,” Staton said at the time.

On Wednesday afternoon, parents picked up children from James McHenry Elementary/Middle School, helping them change into superhero costumes. The students, who normally go home at 3 p.m., were kept in the building an extra 40 minutes because of the shooting, which was reported about 3:09 p.m., according to Edie House-Foster, a Baltimore City Public Schools spokeswoman.

“I just can’t impress upon you how hideous this is,” Quinn said, “that it’s on this beautiful day when all the children should be trick-or-treating and we should be having joy.”

The homicide in the Allendale neighborhood of Southwest Baltimore took place about an hour earlier, police said.

At the scene, yellow police tape cordoned off the area around a corner grocery store.

The victim, a man whose name and age were not immediately released, was found with gunshot wounds in the 200 block of N. Monastery Ave. and declared dead at the scene, police said.

When the shots were fired, Sheila Robertson, 70, was inside, putting the finishing touches on her niece’s Superwoman Halloween costume. The front of her home was decked out with ghouls and skeletons, with plastic tombstones on her lawn.

One of her neighbors, John Johnson, 73, attributed the shooting to the drug dealers who, he said, gather around the store. “It’s all about one thing: drugs,” he said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Baltimore Police Department’s Homicide unit at 410-396-2100. Those who wish to remain anonymous can use the Metro Crime Stoppers tip line at 1-866-7LOCKUP. Tips can also be texted to police at 443-902-4824.

ctkacik@baltsun.com

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Baltimore Sun reported Colin Campbell contributed to this article.

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