Vigil grows as friends remember Jose Velez who was shot and killed in his Puyallup barbershop Wednesday

Customers who ordered flowers at the vigil said Velez is an advocate for minorities and helps young entrepreneurs.

PUYALLUP, Wash. – A vigil was held outside JQ’s Barbershop in Puyallup, where the barbershop owner, Jose Velez, was killed around 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Puyallup police are still looking for a suspect in this shooting.

Customers, friends and owners of neighboring businesses came to order flowers, all of them telling stories of Jose’s kindness.

The barber pole faces outside JQ’s Barbershop, but the curtains are closed.

Shelby McDonald, who works for the business right next to the barbershop, said: “It’s heartbreaking.

McDonald’s brought flowers in memory of Jose.

“He was extremely helpful when anything went wrong. Right next to him, we see him every day,” she said.

Customers who came to the front of the store to offer condolences said Velez spoke out for minority communities and helped young entrepreneurs.

Hasune Mawlood said: “He is not only a mentor, he is also a brother to me. After dozens of rejections, Jose offered Hasune a job at his store. Hasune was 16 years old at the time.

“In high school, the grades weren’t good. He said ‘You can’t work here if your grades aren’t good,’ so I got a raise,” Hasune said.

Now at 19, Hasune owns his own barbershop in Tacoma, which he credits his success to Jose.

Jose is a father, husband and owner of JQ barbershop. He cut hair for people who couldn’t afford it. And he spent time mentoring novice barbers like Hasune.

“He never gave up on me and I never gave up on him. It’s a really good friendship, good relationship. I love him, he’s like a big brother to me,” Hasune said.

The Puyallup Police Department said a gunman entered Jose’s booth Wednesday night while he was cutting an 8-year-old boy’s hair. The man, only 5’8” tall and dressed in all black, shot and killed Jose.

“At this point, we initially believe there is no threat to the public and this is an isolated incident,” said Captain Ryan Portmann, of the Puyallup Police Department.

Police are asking businesses in the area to check their security cameras. The 8-year-old boy and his mother who were there at the time were fine and police are working with them to try to describe the shooter. Vigil grows as friends remember Jose Velez who was shot and killed in his Puyallup barbershop Wednesday

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