As he lay shot and bleeding on the floor of Clippers Barbershop, Tyras McKinney pleaded with his assailant to put down his 3-year-old son, before the man — calm and for no apparent reason — fired again, killing the barber.
The horrific scene of a father’s murder before his child’s eyes is among the harrowing details described in court documents supporting the arrest of 28-year-old Xaver Barkley on charges of murder, kidnapping and three counts of aggravated assault.
Witnesses in the busy South Adams Street barbershop Thursday evening recounted to Tallahassee Police Department investigators the surreal scene, as men getting their regular haircuts found themselves running for their lives.
The owner of Clippers had just finished giving a haircut a little after 5 p.m. He’d opened a beer and offered one to Barkley, who he’d recently hired as a barber. Barkley declined.
The next thing the owner knew, he heard gunshots and saw his employee with a handgun and realized his other barber, McKinney was shot. At first, he thought it was an accident, until Barkley pointed the gun at him.
A patron was sitting in the barber chair when he heard a loud bang. He saw a man holding a gun in his waistband and McKinney on the ground. He watched as the owner went toward the gunman to defuse the situation. Instead, he saw the man grab McKinney’s young boy and clutch him to his chest as a shield as he aimed the gun at his boss.
Both the patron and owner fled the shop. As they did, they heard the second gunshot.
Another barber working that evening recalled McKinney asking, “help me,” after he heard the first loud shot and saw blood on the floor. He saw Barkley with the gun and feared for his own life and ran.
He told police both McKinney and Barkley “were quiet and kept to themselves,” and knew of no motive for the crime.
Yet another barber described to police how Barkley held McKinney’s boy in his left arm and put the barrel of his gun against the child’s head. Both he and McKinney were begging Barkley to put the boy down, when he shot McKinney again. The barber ran out of the shop.
Someone hiding in the back of the shop called 911.
One of the barbers who was outside when the shots were fired, noticed that Barkley was the only one of his co-workers who did not immediately run from the shop. The man described Barkley as “calm and unaffected by the shooting.”
Barkley walked away from the shop, passing the first police officer who arrived. About two hours later, one of the barbers saw him walking from the nearby Checkers restaurant back toward the barbershop. He and the other barber notified police.
As Barkley was arrested, a large crowd gathered that was “hostile in nature,” but he was taken away to police headquarters without incident.
At the station, Barkley “signaled” to investigators that because of an injury he could not talk but could hear and communicate in writing. Despite the numerous eyewitness accounts, Barkley said he was not at Clippers when the shooting happened and denied he shot McKinney. He lamented his lack of money.
Sitting with a red stain on the front of his shirt and apparent blood on his shoes, he told police about his financial problems.
On the last day of his life, McKinney did a lot of haircuts. Clippers is a cash-only business and he was known for carrying a lot of cash. But after he was killed, police found no money in his pocket.
When police searched Barkley, they found his pocket full of more than $300.
Rest In Peace Mr. Tyras McKinney