Police identify suspect in Queens barber shooting

Posted: 4:21 PM, Jul 28, 2017
Updated: 2017-07-28 16:17:38-04

Tyson Boateng (NYPD)

QUEENS — The suspect in the death of Zanu Simpson, a popular Queens barber who was fatally shot on Tuesday, was identified by police as Tyson Boateng.

Boateng has “several” arrests, and he is currently on parole, according to Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.

The police said that they believe that the shooting was part of a robbery for Simpson’s jewelry. Boyce confirmed that there is an “active robbery pattern” in the area in Rosedale.

Simpson, 32, was gunned down while sitting in his BMW after midnight at South Conduit and Lansing avenues.

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

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.

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.

Tyson Boateng. (NYPD)

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.

“Zanu Simpson is a notable man in the community — well-known and well-liked,” Boyce said at a conference.

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.

More than $40,000 has been raised for his funeral expenses as of Friday afternoon.

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