Black barbershop owner protects customers, shoots would-be robber

For Black men the barbershop is a place to recharge refresh and catch up on the latest news. But for customers of the Next Up Barbershop, the visit turned into a nightmare. Two gunmen attempted to rob the Columbia, South Carolina, business and one paid for it with his life.

The robbers entered the busy business armed with a rifle and handgun. According to witnesses, they forced everyone to put their hands up as they went through their pockets, including frightened children. When they demanded head barber Elmurray Bookman give up his wallet, he told them it was across the room on a chair. That’s when one of the robbers made the fatal mistake of turning his back on Bookman and his seated customer.

The customer was able to pull his own gun and shot at the robber, during which time Bookman was also able to retrieve his own gun. Gunfire erupted and one robber fled the scene while the other one lay wounded on the barbershop floor. Fortunately, none of the patrons were injured during the harrowing incident. The robber who was shot died of his wounds later at a local hospital, while his partner in crime is still on the loose. Both the barber and the customer had concealed carry permits.

Mo Barnes
Mo Barnes

Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician. He has been writing for Rolling Out since 2014. Whether it means walking through a bloody police shooting to help a family find justice or showing the multifaceted talent of the Black Diaspora I write the news.

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