ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On May 13, a gunman opened fire on an Albany barbershop, killing a barber and wounding a 19-year-old man and a 9-year-old child. The shop has since been trying to heal and slowly welcome back customers into their chairs.
A few weeks after the shooting, on a Thursday afternoon, three men inside Village and Barber and Beauty were talking about scripture, debating how God’s Will could allow humankind to experience calamity.
“But if you’ve ever read the Book of Job,” owner Reginald Graham, also a pastor, replied to another barber at the shop while cutting a reverend’s hair, “you can be smack dab in the middle of God’s will, doing exactly what he wants you to do, and still go through some trials and some tribulations.”
Graham knows about tribulations firsthand. Last month, his grandson was grazed by a bullet as he was giving him a haircut.
“He’s doing well now,” Graham said of the 9-year-old, “but we don’t know what kind of trauma may be underlying that we don’t know right now.”
Graham said the family is making sure the child sees a counselor following the devastating and scary shooting. The barbershop owner is encouraging his employees to talk to someone about their trauma, as well.
The shooting had nothing to do with the barbershop or anyone who worked there, Graham explained. Sadly, one of his barbers, 47-year-old Tyrone Staley, was killed.
“Everyone in the barbershop was on the ground and we were all crawling,” Graham recalled. “We thought this was a safe place, a safe haven, but it has become obvious that it can happen to anyone, anywhere.”
Since the incident over Mothers’ Day Weekend, Graham has been focused on repairing and rebuilding.
“We counted about 25 [bullet] holes,” Graham said, pointing to recently patched spots on the walls and ceiling, “and they were coming simultaneously, so it had to be something automatic.”
Since replacing the windows and taking down the television on the wall that was destroyed by gunfire, Graham’s been seeing some of his usual customers, but he hasn’t fully reopened yet. The door was locked when NEWS10 arrived for our interview.
Graham said some customers don’t feel safe returning there yet, and it’ll take time for them to build the courage to go back. He is in no rush and is evaluating potential security options. He’s been cutting some customers’ hair in the back room of the shop to make them feel more at ease.
There are religious items throughout the shop– a bible, a cross, a model of a church, and a small statue of Jesus carrying the cross, to name a few. Graham said they were all displayed in the window on that devastating day.
“They shot out almost all the glass. None of these objects were affected by the shooting,” Graham said.
While police haven’t arrested the person responsible for the shooting, Graham hopes by cutting hair and helping people look and feel their best, it can help the community continue to heal, and live up to his shop’s motto.
“Our motto is: Let’s put the unity back in our community, and the neighbor back in our hood.”