Puyallup police said Thursday that a fatal shooting at a barber shop downtown appears to be an isolated incident, and police believe danger to the community is low.
The department's investigative services unit is actively working the homicide, according to a statement. It occurred Wednesday evening at JQ Barber Shop, 112 E. Stewart Ave. Police said the victim, a 43-year-old Tacoma man, was cutting a child's hair when he was shot multiple times.
Capt. Ryan Portmann said detectives have been canvassing the area for video, following up on tips from the public and working through theories that he said would hopefully lead them to a motivation for the shooting.
"If we can find out the motivation, what was the motive, we should be able to find the suspect," Portmann said.
The suspect was described as a man of unknown race who was 5-foot-8 and wearing all black clothing, according to Puyallup Police Department. Police said he entered the business, went directly to where the barber was working and opened fire. He ran from the store. Police were dispatched at about 5:09 p.m. and soon conducted an extensive search of the area with the help of a police dog, according to the department.
Portmann said the facts of the shooting are what lead police to believe the killing was targeted. He said the gunman walked by other people as he entered the shop and went to a specific booth to shoot the barber. Portmann said it didn't look like a robbery.
"We recognize we have an armed gunman out there, but it doesn't appear that the attack was random," he said.
Multiple tips have come in, police said, but the department still asked anyone with information or video of the shooting to contact them at 253-770-3343 or email email@example.com.
Those who knew the man remembered him Thursday as a fixture of the community who has been cutting hair for more than 10 years. He has not been identified by the medical examiner. The mother of the 8-year-old child who was in the barber's chair was at the store during the shooting, Portmann said. He said what the child experienced was traumatic, and police would work with the family to make sure they have the resources necessary for the boy to deal with what happened.
The killing is the second homicide in Puyallup this year. The first was a fatal police shooting in February where an officer killed a 36-year-old man. Across Pierce County, 74 homicides have been recorded in 2022.