scheduled tribe. PETERSBURG – Customers, neighbors and friends pulled into the parking lot of the ATL Barber Shop and Salon on Wednesday as news spread that owner Anthony Tyrone Link had been shot and killed in his car a few blocks away.
They came to pay respects and remembered a man who saw his shop as more than a business.
“He was an asset to our community,” said 69-year-old Sylvia King, who left flowers in front of Link’s barbershop along with other bouquets and a teddy bear. “He had a good heart.”
The king said that Link used to come to his house to cut hair of his sons. She’ll bake oatmeal raisin cookies for her.
According to St. Petersburg police, officers responded to a report of a Mercedes-Benz that crashed on the 1500 block of 26th St. S in the Wildwood Heights neighborhood at 11:53 p.m. Tuesday.
They shot Link, 37, inside, apparently. The scene was about a half mile from the barbershop at 2910 18th Ave S.
Curran Wallace, 28, said he started getting a haircut from Link at the age of 15. Just a few days ago, Wallace and Link were chatting in a bowling alley. Link advised Wallace to stay safe and always put his kids first.
After waking up Wednesday morning and checking Facebook, Wallace heard of Link’s death. That was the first post he saw.
“The city suffered a major loss,” Wallace said. “I know I did.”
According to a weekly Challenger story published that year about Link’s participation in the annual MLK Day service, as of 2017, Link had operated his shop on 18th Avenue South for nearly five years. Link plans to give away free child products and host guest speakers “to bring positive messages to our youth,” according to the story.
In 2016, Link posted a photo of St Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway cutting his hair on his Instagram page.
In February 2019, Link posted a photo of the shop to celebrate six years in business and a new paint job at the shop.
“Started with walking with a backpack and not giving up on your goal or dream,” Post says. “I know it (sic) may be small but I am so grateful and grateful … I am still giving up and striving to be big.”
Link’s shop was the scene of deadly gun violence in April 2016, when 31-year-old Dontavian Fleming was shot in a parking lot. Fleming’s 11-year-old son, who was in the shop with his three younger brothers, saw his father fall and ran to him after being shot, times informed at that time.
About a week later, police arrested 20-year-old Hopton Johnson, who admitted to waiting to leave Fleming’s barbershop and take money out of his pocket after the shooting, records show. Johnson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2019 and was sentenced to 25 years in state prison.
Investigators asked that anyone with information about Link’s shooting call the St. Petersburg Police Department at 727-893-7780. Anonymous tips can also be sent by text message to 847411. Begin the message with SPPD followed by TIP.
Staff writer Boyzel Hosey contributed to this report.