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Man accuses barber of pulling a gun on him while saying ‘I don’t cut black hair’

The Washington Post The Washington Post 15/05/2016 Elahe Izadi

Arthur Hill stepped into a barbershop Tuesday in Rock Hill, S.C., and asked for a haircut.

The barber responded “that he does not cut black hair,” according to a York County Sheriff’s Office report.

Hill asked the barber what he meant by that response, and then saw it: a chrome-colored, .38 caliber snub-nose revolver, in the barber’s right hand, held to his side, reads the sheriff’s report.

The barber, Larry Thomas, has since been arrested and charged with pointing and presenting a firearm at a person. The felony is punishable by a court-set fine or up to five years in prison.

“I was shocked, I was shocked for my life, because I’m thinking that could’ve been me laying on the floor dead,” Hill, the would-be customer, told NBC affiliate WCNC. “He did not point it at me, but it was clear in sight like he meant business.”

The barber told a deputy that he wasn’t holding the gun and that they’re kept in a shed behind his barbershop, according to the sheriff’s report. But the handguns in the shed matched the description Hill provided investigators, the sheriff’s report reads.

Since his arrest and release, Thomas has told local media outlets he had the gun out because he “felt threatened.”

“I always have a gun right here,” Thomas told WCNC, as he tapped his cabinet. “But I felt threatened because that man came walking back here to where I was, I felt threatened and I picked up the gun and I had it here by my side.”

“I told him I did not do black hair and he kept coming towards me and I stepped back here and I always keep a gun right here and I just picked up my gun and put my gun at my side,” Thomas told WBTV. “That’s when he got into my face and said ‘You meant African American now, didn’t you?'”

Hill said he’s never visited the barbershop before and just needed a quick cut before work. When the barber refused, Hill asked why.

“I said, ‘Are you referring to African American hair?’ He said, ‘Yeah,’ and at the time I noticed he already had his hand gripped on a .38 snub-nose, chrome revolver,” Hill told WCNC.

Thomas told WBTV he’s not racist.

“I don’t do flat tops. White people wear flat tops. I no longer cut women’s hair because I’m not good enough to cut women’s hair anymore. The only thing I do is I stick with my middle-age group of men,” Thomas told WBTV. “I’m just not good enough to do black hair cutting at all. Being an autistic individual, I pretty much stick to my routine.”

The station found eight other reports, starting in 2007, documenting calls to the sheriff’s office about the barbershop. Most of those reports allege customers — including an Asian American, a Latino and white men — were refused service.

In one of those incidents, Thomas used pepper spray on a customer during an argument, the Associated Press reported.

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