Man shot while getting haircut at Northside barber shop, police say

CINCINNATI -- A man shot multiple times Friday afternoon at a Northside barber shop remains in critical condition as authorities try to determine the motive behind what appears to be a targeted shooting.

The unidentified victim was sitting in the third of four chairs when a male suspect wearing a checkered shirt enter the barber shop and opened fire, hitting the victim multiple times in the chest, said District 5 Capt. Paul Neudigate.

The suspect walked past two other customers before firing on the victim at about 12:30 p.m. inside Stephanie's Hair Options, said Sgt. Charles White. White said police found four shell casings inside the store, which was occupied by a handful of people who took cover.

Witnesses told police they heard at least six shots, but were unable to identify the shooter.

Neudigate said officers were flagged down at 12:25 p.m. to respond to the shooting inside the shop at 4206 Hamilton Avenue. The barber shop is located across the street from a children's activity center called Happen.

The victim was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center and is in critical condition. Neudigate said the male suspect fled the scene, possibly in a black Nissan Maxima.

Investigators will release the identity of the victim, pending notification of the family, said Police Officer Tracy Jones Friday afternoon. Authorities are in the process of identifying a motive for the shooting, although they said it may be a targeted drug-related incident.

Cincinnati police District 5 Capt. Paul Neudigate, left, and Sgt. Charles White, right, look into Stephanie's Hair Options, where one person was shot while getting his haircut at 4206 Hamilton Avenue on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, in Cincinnati. He was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center and remains in critical condition. Kareem Elgazzar | WCPO

Authorities closed part of the sidewalk off while crews navigated the scene inside the business. There is nothing to indicate a robbery or motive, Neudigate said.

Through Oct. 5, there has been nearly a 40 percent increase in the number of people shot in District 5 compared to the same time period last year - 53 this year and 38 in 2012. Over a two-year span, there has been a 26 percent increase, according to Cincinnati police statistics.
 
Crimes of violence reported to Cincinnati police – homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults – are down by 15 percent district wide, but there have been three more homicides this year than last.

Northside resident Tyler Johnson said he was next door to the shop when he heard the gunshots.

"I'm used to the gunshots, but I didn't expect it," he said. "My brother said, 'Just wait.' And next thing you know, I just see everyone running out … I'm upset this happened in Northside … I don't want nobody dying."

Johnson said he was in the barber shop 10 minutes before the shooting using the bathroom.

After he heard shots, Johnson said he spotted the shooter walk past him with a hooded sweatshirt over his head, hiding his face.

"We heard like five shots, and somebody walked past with his hoodie on. It was kind of scary," Johnson said.

Northbound lanes of Hamilton Avenue were closed from Chase Avenue to Pullan Avenue.

White said District 5 units will wait at the shop and secure the scene until word arrives from the hospital that the victim is going to make it. 

WCPO will update this story as more information becomes available.

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