Local News

Man charged in downtown Raleigh barbershop slaying

Posted August 9, 2010 10:57 a.m. EDT
Updated August 9, 2010 11:31 p.m. EDT

— Police on Monday charged a Raleigh man with murder following a morning shooting at a downtown Raleigh barbershop that left one man dead.

Officers responded to the shooting at Total Styles and Cuts, 203 E. Cabarrus St., at about 9:15 a.m. and found James Edward Hamer, 29, of Raleigh, dead inside the shop, police said.

A source familiar with the investigation said that Hamer was in the barber's chair getting a haircut when someone ran into the shop, shot him and fled.

Police arrested Roger Onaje McKenzie, 23, at his home on Blacklan Circle late Monday afternoon and charged him with Hamer's death.

A week ago, a store owner was stabbed during a robbery of his men's clothing outlet on South Wilmington Street, about three blocks from the site of Monday's shooting.

"I don't think it's setting any type of trend in downtown," said Ron Dickerson, who owns the historic building where the barbershop is located.

Dickerson said the five retail tenants on the first floor of his building, which was built in 1907 and housed meeting space for local Masons, have remained fairly stable in the last five years.

"It tells the story our tenants. They like being here, and they like the neighborhood," he said.

The building is on the edge of downtown's revitalization efforts. Across the street, a former car wash has been turned into a mix of retail and condos.

"They have renovated and made the neighborhood a vital place to live," Dickerson said. "We think a lot of positive things are going to come from this neighborhood."

Tom Walsh, whose daughter lives about a block from the barbershop, said he was stunned to learn of the slaying.

"My daughter's lived here for a little over a year and never commented on any crime or anything like that," Walsh said. "(It's always been) a very safe neighborhood. ... I've never been worried about my daughter in Raleigh till now."