BALTIMORE — Baltimore barber Troy Staton condemns the killings of two of his fellow barbers who were murdered over the weekend.
“Barbershops and beauty salons are sanctuaries, and someone violated that. We will not have that no more,” Staton said.
Baltimore Police identified the gunman as Carlos Ortega.
Police said he went on a shooting spree Saturday, killing the two barbers, injuring another before he was shot and killed by an off-duty officer.
The victims have been identified as 44-year-old Javier Villegas Cotta and 33-year-old Rafael Jeffers.
“It was very surreal,” he said. “It was a tragedy. It was devastating.”
Staton is a shooting survivor himself. He was shot in his barbershop on Halloween in 2018.
The weekend tragedy hits close to home.
“I understand. I’m not empathizing. I’m sympathizing. I was a victim,” he said. “This touched home. It was personal for me.”
Staton created a program called More Than a Shop to help respond to incidents like these. It’s now grown to more than a dozen barbershops and beauty salons providing a variety of services to communities, including mental health.
He said they’re now rallying around the barbershops to address the trauma related to the shootings
“We bring forth mental training and mental awareness for post PTSD, where barbers and beauticians can talk to someone to help them address their issues for their mental well-being.”
Staton said the barbershop community is also coming together to help with any security concerns.
He also said More Than a Shop will work to raise money for the victim's families.
“What we plan on doing is a mass day of come and get a haircut and the proceeds will go to the family,” he said.
Staton said the fundraiser is still being planned, but WMAR-2 News will update this story when the information becomes available.