SC barber, client defend shop full of people in stick-up, shoot assailant dead

The owner of a South Carolina barbershop is thankful that he was carrying a concealed weapon after two armed robbers walked into his business demanding money.

Elmurray ‘Billy’ Bookman, owner of Next Up Barber & Beauty in Columbia, said shortly before 7pm Saturday two men wearing masks walked into his business and demanded money, as one carried a pistol and the other had a shotgun, The State reported

That night the barbershop was packed full of customers, including children, who were trying to get their hair cut.

‘I didn’t want anybody to get hurt. But the kids, the way they were crying and hollering, you know, so I felt sorry for them,’ Bookman told WACH.

Grateful: Elmurray 'Billy' Bookman (pictured standng left), owner of Next Up Barber & Beauty in Columbia, South Carolina is thankful that he was carrying a concealed weapon during an attempted robbery at his shop

He explained that the robbers forced all of the customers, including the children, to put their hands up as they began to go through everyone’s pockets and belongings.

When the thieves demanded Bookman to hand over his wallet, he told them it was on a chair across the room.

As one of the gunman turned to find the money, the client in Bookman’s chair drew his concealed weapon and shot at the suspect.

Moments later, he also drew his gun and started to shoot at the other suspect in his business.

The owner and customer both fired shots that left one of the suspects dead and the other on the run.

‘I felt like something had to be done,’ Bookman told WACH. ‘If we didn’t have our concealed weapons, if we didn’t have our weapons here, I don’t know what would have happened.

‘It helps that he had it [and] it gives you a chance to defend yourself and help other people.’

The Columbia Police Department is investigating how the second suspect escaped from the scene, and if he was shot, WACH reported.

None of the 20 customers or employees inside of the barbershop were injured during the robbery.

One of the suspect’s weapons was stolen from a home in the city in 2012, according to WACH.

The name of the deceased suspect has not been released and an autopsy is expected to be performed sometime in the next few days.

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