A South Carolina barber with a history of altercations told police he “felt threatened” when he refused service and pulled out a gun on an African-American man who walked into his barbershop for a shave, according to reports.
Rock Hill barber Larry Thomas, 65-years-old, who is white, allegedly pulled out a gun when Arthur Hill, of Fort Mill, a 37-year-old African-American, walked into Thomas’ barbershop on May 11 asking for a quick shave on his way to work.
Instead of offering a chair, Hill said that Thomas responded by holding a .38 caliber revolver in his hand saying, “I don’t do black hair.” Hill retreated from the shop and called the York County Sheriff’s Office.
When police arrived, Thomas reportedly led them to an outside shed and to the gun Hill had described. Thomas is out on bond after being charged with pointing and presenting firearms at a person. In South Carolina the crime is punishable by a fine or up to five years in prison.
“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. The news station found several other reports from the past of Thomas presenting firearms at potential customers.
Thomas also told the station he doesn’t do flat tops or women’s hair styles. He added, “I’m just not good enough to do black hair cutting at all. Being an autistic individual, I pretty much stick to my routine.”
Hill told WCNC, “I was shocked. I was shocked for my life, because I’m thinking that could’ve been me laying on the floor dead. “He did not point it at me, but it was clear in [hind]sight like he meant business. He said, ‘I don’t do black hair.’ I asked him does he shave, can he shave me, and he said, ‘I don’t do black hair.’ ”
Hill says he asked Thomas to clarify why he couldn’t get a cut. “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.”