A popular Queens barber was fatally shot during an apparent botched robbery while sitting in his car after leaving a restaurant, police said.
Zanu Simpson was shot around 12:15 a.m. as he sat in a BMW X5 SUV parked near the corner of South Conduit Avenue and Lansing Avenue in Springfield Gardens.
Simpson, who worked as a barber at Strickly Skillz Barbershop in Hollis, had just come out of Breezes Highland Bar & Grill with a woman before they said goodbye and he got into his vehicle.
After a few minutes, surveillance video shows a man in a gray sweatsuit enter the car through the passenger’s side door where the two got into a struggle as the robber tried to grab his property.
The thief got out of the car and ran around to the driver’s side window where he punched Simpson several more times as the struggle continued.
A female motorist who happened to be passing by saw the men fighting before hearing a shot.
When the driver turned her car around, she found Simpson slumped over in the seat and bleeding from the head.
Police found a Ruger pistol at the scene along with a single 9mm shell casing.
A police source said the killing is believed to be part of a string of robberies that have taken place outside the restaurant in recent months.
“We have a robbery pattern there, where the perps scope out potential victims inside that place,” said a police source referring to the restaurant.
“Customers coming out of this place are getting robbed.”
The source added that about five people have been robbed outside of Breezes Highland Bar & Grill since April.
Simpson also appeared to call out a supposed rival on Instagram just hours before his death,writing
“n—s taking shots can’t stop me,” and “they ain’t real enough…‼️”
But investigators do not believe the apparent taunts had anything to do with his death.
“It’s not linked to his Instagram or Facebook posting, as far as we know,” said the source. “It’s not that at all. This is just a straight-up robbery.”