TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In the African American community, the neighborhood barbershop is for many a safe place of sanctuary, second to the church, for families to gather and neighbors to catch up. It's a place to relax and feel safe.
That's what Clippers Barbershop on South Adams Street was to the community, until Thursday.
"I heard people very sad, I heard people scared," said Talethia Edwards, President of the Greater Bond Neighborhood Association. "I heard people asking - how could this happen? What was the shooter thinking? Where are we safe?"
A community in mourning with tough questions and no obvious answers after the unthinkable happened Thursday afternoon.
A man and father, shot and killed in front of his 5-year-old child at Clippers Barbershop. Community leaders say Clippers is a staple, a positive place where children can get a free haircut for bringing in a good report card.
Reginald Henderson, Co-Owner of Empire Tattoo, is in the same plaza.
"We've done lot of things. A couple years back we did bounce houses and supply giveaways," said Henderson. "There's a lot of uncelebrated pomposity that comes out of not only that shop but a lot of shops in this plaza."
Edwards says taking away that safe place is damaging the community.
"This happened in broad daylight. In a barbershop where we all go, where we all think that we are safe, where we think our children are safe," said Edwards. "So it is changing where sanctuaries are and where our safety is."
Tallahassee leaders are searching for solutions to the escalating gun violence. They say we can start by talking and acknowledging that violence in our neighborhoods affects us all.
They also say we need to educate our children about gun safety and gun violence and the importance of de-escalation.
"Sometimes it's just that easy and saying that I am going to walk away - that my pride is not as important as this situation escalating into something like it did yesterday," said Edwards.