Owner of Baltimore beauty salon fatally shot in robbery attempt Police charge city man, seek a second suspect

December 29, 1997|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

The owner of a North Baltimore beauty salon, who neighbors said would help anyone in need, was shot several times and killed during an attempted robbery at his shop Saturday night, police said.

Police have arrested a North Baltimore man and are searching for another suspect in the slaying of Clayton "Hank" Culbreth, 33, owner of Hank's Exotic Hair and Nails in the 600 block of E. 36th St. in Waverly. Culbreth lived above the shop.

Police said Culbreth probably knew the assailants who knocked on his door about 10 p.m.

When Culbreth went to the door, two people tried to rob him but he fought back, said Detective Homer Pennington of the homicide squad.

During the struggle, one of them shot Culbreth several times, Pennington said. Culbreth, father of an 8-year-old daughter, died only feet from his burgundy-colored shop, police said.

Friends and relatives said that Culbreth helped neighbors and others in need, from a homeless man seeking change to a neighbor battling a drug problem.

"You could ask him about anything," said Lavonde Engram, 18, a neighbor. "He was like my godfather. He helped me with my problems, even my hair. He would give you anything you asked."

Yesterday afternoon, Engram sat on her front stoop and lightly stroked her black hair weave that sported a burgundy streak -- compliments of Culbreth.

"I want to be a beautician," Engram said. "He was always telling me how my hair should be cut."

Culbreth graduated from Northern High School in 1982 and joined the Army, serving four years, said his brother Eric Culbreth, 29.

In the Army, Culbreth cut hair and decided he wanted to style hair professionally when he left the service, his brother said.

He opened a shop on 32nd Street, family members said.

Three years ago, Culbreth needed more room so he purchased the rundown, two-story house on 36th Street that took him seven months to refurbish.

Culbreth decorated the shop with trinkets, burgundy carpeting, Oriental fans, umbrellas and mirrors.

Family and friends crowded the shop yesterday.

"He was a perfectionist. Everything had to have its place," said friend and neighbor Roy Harris, 40.

Harris, who is almost bald, said Culbreth took his time cutting his hair, making sure the job was done right.

"There wasn't a whole lot he could do with this," Harris said, rubbing his closely cut hair. "He did an excellent job."

Charged with first-degree murder in Culbreth's killing is Nicholas S. Beharry, 38, of the 3600 block of Greenmount Ave., police said. Beharry was being held without bail at the Central Booking and Intake Center, police said.

Pub Date: 12/29/97

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