- September 9, 2021
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On a busy Saturday morning on July 4 weekend, barbers at Gee’s Clippers took time to remember their friend Yosef Timms, better known as Jay or Jay Da Barber, who was shot and killed outside his shop Thursday.
Many others posted tributes on Facebook about Timms, 32, who was known for his attention to detail, taking pride in every haircut he gave, and infectious laugh. Some lit candles and laid flowers outside his shop, Fade Lounge, near Holton and Center streets.
Timms was shot shortly before 12:30 p.m. Thursday outside Fade Lounge. Milwaukee police said several people were involved in a fight when an unidentified individual fired shots striking Timms.
Timms worked at Gee’s Clippers for about six years before starting his own shop about five years ago, said Gee’s Clippers owner Gaulien “Gee” Smith. Of the hundreds of barbers Smith has worked with over the years, he said Timms was among the very best.
“What wasn’t he good at?” Smith said. “Tapers, afros, fades, every hairstyle — he really didn’t have a weakness. He was like the Kobe Bryant of barbering.”
Timms started cutting hair at a young age, around 12 or 13, Smith said.
“Like a lot of urban barbers, they learn from cutting themselves and friends,” Smith said. “He had an unbelievable gift in barbering. He came to Gee’s already extremely talented.”
Smith said he felt like a big brother to Timms, who was eager to learn about running a business. He quickly developed a large clientele, Smith said.
Outside the shop, Timms loved to roller skate at Butler Skateland and was drawn to high-end automobiles, Smith said. A week before he died, Timms visited Smith to show him his new Mustang GT.
Smith didn’t learn until after Timms’ death that Timms was due to become a father.
“He was planning on surprising us,” he said. “He would have been a good father. He would have asked questions for what he didn’t know. He was inquisitive.”
Facebook tributes remembered Timms for his skill as a barber and conversationalist. Many, like Smith, called for an end to gun violence.
“We must do better as a people Family!” Smith wrote. “Too many of us are leaving here too young, too soon!”
Milwaukee, like many cities across the country, had a historically high homicide rate in 2020 as experts pointed to pandemic-exacerbated stressors. City officials counted 189 homicides in 2020. The previous high was 165 in 1991.
As of Friday, the city has 82 homicides in 2021, not far less than the 85 that had been counted at this time last year, according to police data.
Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention recommends these resources for free support with preventing or responding to crisis situations:
Contact Rory Linnane at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @RoryLinnane.