Men rarely call each other beautiful.
But in the days since Charlotte barber David Lindsay died, that’s what Damian Johnson, who co-owns the barbershop where Lindsay worked, has heard over and over.
“He was a beautiful man. Just as beautiful as his haircuts, that’s who he was as a person.”
Lindsay, who was found shot to death in an SUV in east Charlotte Tuesday, would have turned 30 on July 1. He leaves behind an outsize effect on his community.
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He mentored kids. He was studying for a state license to become a barber instructor.
He approached his job – at No Grease Mosaic Village, one branch of a Charlotte-based chain of barbershops – as an opportunity to create art as he cut hair for celebrities and homeless people alike.
By this time in 2016, Charlotte had had 22 homicides. The city has now had 47 and is on pace to reach nearly 100 by the end of the year. The average in recent years has been in the 60s.
The most recent homicide was Nelson Bismar Sosa, who was shot in a west Charlotte bar Saturday night. No one has been arrested yet in that case, or in Lindsay’s case. Altogether, 17 homicides this year remain unsolved.
In the days since Lindsay died, tributes have poured in. Friends and family held a vigil Sunday night.
Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles called him “a bright light, community advocate, mentor, and inspiration.” She said he was friends with her daughter.
Gene Winchester is president of the N.C. Local Barber Association and an organizer of the Cops and Barbers series of town halls, which aimed to bring together the black community and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
He said Lindsay was active in the black community and helped with town halls, but he really excelled in working with young people.
“A lot of kids kind of migrate towards him,” Winchester said. “He had that young look, he had that young spirit.”
The area where Lindsay worked at No Grease became a collecting ground for flowers and messages in the week after his death.
Johnson said cutting hair was like breathing for Lindsay, and barbers nationwide admired his talent.
“He knew the gift that he had,” Johnson said. “He would share that. It made sense for him to share that, even if someone was homeless right then or couldn’t pay.”
“That was Dave.”
Johnson said he couldn’t believe it when he heard Lindsay had been killed.
“For someone you know to be such a great person, to be killed in such a way – it just didn’t add up. It still doesn’t,” Johnson said.
The barbershop said on Facebook it would start a scholarship in Lindsay’s memory to help provide training for aspiring barbers.
Lindsay’s sister, Rebecca Lindsay, said she hopes police solve her brother’s case soon.
“I pray that they find whoever did this,” she told WBTV. “I really do because they took away a very innocent soul. Somebody who would never do that to someone else, ever.”
Jane Wester: 704-358-5331, @janewester