Defensive Gun Use of the Day: Barber Shop Carriers Stop Armed Robbery

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“Elmurray ‘Billy’ Bookman was cutting hair at his barber station, the second chair from the door, when two masked men, one wielding a pistol and the other carrying a shotgun, entered Next Up Barber & Beauty, he said.” That sounds like a recipe for disaster. And it was…for the stick-up men. As relays, “Minutes later, Bookman and one of his customers drew their weapons as the robbers were taking money from customers and employees. They fired shots that left one of the suspects dead and sent another on the run just before 7 p.m. Friday.” . . .

The only problem with this scenario is, of course, that we know it just can’t happen. We know this because we’re constantly reminded by card-carrying members of the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex that packing heat only increases the danger for the carrier. We’ve all be toiling under a tragic myth perpetuated by the gun lobby that Americans regularly defend themselves and their loved ones with firearms. Just ask a noted authority like Shannon Watts.

Yeah? Well tell that to the crowd in the Columbia barber shop.

About 20 people, including several women and children, were at the barbershop on Fort Jackson Boulevard. It sits behind the Applebee’s restaurant on Devine Street, across from the Cross Hill Market that houses Whole Foods.

Bookman said he just wanted to protect the crowd of people inside the shop.

And protect them he did. While the pistolero was bleeding out on the linoleum tiles, his pal with the shotgun took off into the night and is still at large, as the constabulary is wont to say. So next time you read something from the usual sources arguing that carrying a gun only increases the risk for the carrier, think of the 20 people in Next Up Barber & Beauty and ask yourself if you think they’re happy that Mr. Bookman and his un-named customer were packing Friday night.

[h/t James]


  1. avatar Jeremy in AL says:

    I love a happy ending!

  2. avatar Mike W. says:

    Well done gentlemen. Keep up the good fight.

  3. avatar CTstooge says:

    They should’ve knocked off Whole Foods across the street. Gun Free Zone dontcha know….

    1. avatar Bob R says:

      If they are like the downtown Austin Whole foods which has an unofficial no-guns sign, and which also houses its headquarters and where the not-so-libertarian John Mackey can be seen inside the store occasionally, they employ an armed off duty cop. Talk about a mind fuck — no guns, except for guns…

  4. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    There was another person taken out in Chicago by a concealed carrier today too, no charges anticipated.

    I think we’re at pretty near 2 a week right now. Maybe a few of these lost souls will get the point that people are tired of taking their garbage and will call them on it.

    It’s getting

    1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      Unfortunately, they produce new bangers at a rate exceeding 2 per week.

  5. avatar Paul says:

    The linked article is so compelling. Both good guys had CC permits. The bad guy handgun had been reported stolen in 2012. QED.

  6. avatar Mk10108 says:

    Shannon wants citizens to submitt to criminals and leave them to their fate.

  7. avatar Don from CT says:

    Google “Elmurray “Billy” Bookman”. There are a dozen articles.

    There you will learn that Mr. Bookman is also black. Which deviates from the anti-gun dialogue even more than if he was white. What’s this? A lawfully armed black man using a gun to defend his people?? Never.

    There is a not so subtle racism to the anti-gunners and their attitudes towards minority ownership of firearms.


  8. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    I love it when the good guys win. I wonder what the race of the good guys is in the story. I suspect the press is hiding it.

    1. avatar Steven says:

      Everyone is black. Bad and good guys

    2. avatar Kevin says:

      Chris, it’s a barber shop/community hall. That’s not something you see in any community except African American.

  9. avatar Priest of the center mass says:


  10. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Good thing there weren’t 4 bad guys.
    Little mikey and gang would call it another mass shooting.

  11. avatar jwm says:

    Wonder how much tacticool training the barber had? Or did he just roll up his sleeves and get the job done.

    Maybe that Finicum fellow should have gotten training from this barber.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Training is a good thing. Tacticool training is even better, IF you have the time, money, physical capabilities, and temperament for it.

      In a CQB situation against equally untrained or even less trained individuals full of thug bravado and who knows what sorts of chemical courage enhancers, I doubt that a tacticool training level makes all that much difference in the few seconds it takes for the entire incident to conclude one way or the other.

      This is proven time and again with any number of YouTube videos of average citizens taking care of business and Bad Guys running for the exits and/or hitting the floor at a dead stop. Maybe they just don’t post the videos of the gangsters hitting the Quickie Mart with well-coordinated military style squad assaults?

      (Not talking about the occasional “Flash Mobs” intent on shoplifting and pilfering. Enlisting a mob as a distraction to overwhelm is not the same as a coordinated attack on the clerk and the cash.)

  12. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    There is another reason we know that this could not have possibly happened …

    [the barber shop] sits behind the Applebee’s restaurant on Devine Street, across from the Cross Hill Market that houses Whole Foods.

    Applebee’s and Whole Foods build in “nice areas” and we all know that violent criminals never attack in “nice areas”. Therefore we know for a fact that such an event could never have happened proving once again that armed people never actually defend themselves from violent attackers.


    1. avatar The Pontificator says:

      Actually the immediate neighborhood as a whole isn’t very nice. Whole Foods only opened there because there was a standing (vacant) structure…a former Krogers, and the property is within reach of the affluent Forest
      Acres and Rosewood neighborhoods.

    2. avatar Doesky2 says:

      Dont think I would have chose a barber shop over a whole foods but i’m not in the biz…. and now neither is one of them.

  13. avatar JJVP says:

    They must have left something off the story. Like the 15 people that were shot by the gun toting CCW’s. It had to have happened that way, right? That’s what Shannon and gunsense folks say happens. All those poor innocent bystanders shot by the “good guys” with guns. /end sarcasm

  14. avatar Mark Lloyd says:

    I’d really appreciate film at 11 and maybe some high definition photos of the scene.

  15. avatar Ralph says:

    Billy “the Barber” Bookman may have had a close shave, but it was the BG who got clipped.

  16. avatar rob says:

    Hooray for the good guys. Let’s wait and be sure the DA doesn’t charge them.

  17. avatar Wrightl3 says:

    Glad so many people were saved by these coragious gun owners. Add this to the list.

  18. 1 down. Untold thousands to go.

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