Attempted robbery eyed as motive in fatal shooting of popular Queens barber

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QUEENS — Police believe popular Queens barber and beloved community member Zanu Simpson was fatally shot in an attempted robbery.

The suspected motive was named Wednesday, a day after Simpson, 32, was gunned down while sitting in his BMW in the overnight hours at South Conduit and Lansing avenues.

Zanu Simpson was fatally shot in Queens on July 25, 2017. He was a barber at Strickly Skillz Barbershop, which posted this photo in his memory on Facebook.

Simpson had just left a nearby bar and grill when he was killed, police sources said.

Once inside his vehicle, a woman drove by the scene, later telling the police she saw a man in a charcoal gray hoodie lean into the driver’s-side window and repeatedly punch someone, the NY Daily News reports.

The motorist then thought she heard a gunshot as she drove by. She turned around, and returned to the scene to find Simpson shot three times in the head, according to the newspaper.

Police confirmed to PIX11 Wednesday the motive appears to be attempted robbery.

As investigators canvassed the area after Simpson’s death, a gun was located, along with a gold ring, glasses and an unknown amount of cash, the Daily News reports.

Simpson was Jamaican born and opened Queens' Strickly Skillz Barbershop with his brother.

The popular barbershop has thousands of followers on social media, and included clients from the neighborhood, as well as celebrities like Future and Mobb Deep.

Community members were quick to gather after learning of Simpson’s death.

"I wanna let everyone know, he wasn’t a bad person,” high school friend Samantha Lowe said. “This happened to a really great guy. ... He's someone the community loved.”

Others noted Simpson and his brother regularly gave back to the children, and others, in their neighborhood.

Police thus far have only identified the person sought as someone last seen in a gray sweatsuit who fled in a silver sedan.

Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477),, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

Correction: The article initially stated Simpson's BMW was parked in a lot next to a street. It has been updated to state the vehicle was on the street.