Dispute Between Rival Barbershops in Little Haiti Leaves Two Dead, Witness Claims

As women approached the quaint Little Haiti barbershop, they burst into tears, grasped their headscarfs, and rocked back and forth. Men stood a little farther back, gossiping about the previous day's tragic events and examining a nearby barber pole for bullet holes.

Yesterday afternoon around 12:30, a security guard began arguing with the shop's owner at 5325 NE Second Ave. The cops were called to mediate the dispute. Instead of abating, though, tensions escalated. The security guard pulled out a 9mm handgun, witnesses say, and pumped two bullets into Gersen Mieses. The unidentified officer then fired back and killed the security guard.

Leon Pier, who hangs out in front of the barbershop each day, says the deadly argument stemmed from a rivalry with a new barbershop across the street that opened about a week ago. According to Pier, the security guard and the barbershop owner had a tempestuous relationship that worsened when the guard began handing out flyers advertising the new shop. Both barbershops were closed today.

"Nobody thought such a thing would happen," Piers says. "Everybody is shaky and on edge now."

Throughout the day, people arrived to set up a memorial for the slain Mieses. About 20 prayer candles were lit on the adjacent sidewalk, and bundles of plastic flowers were placed on the barbershop's door.

Send your story tips to the author, Allie Conti.

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