SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Police officers in San Francisco are helping a neighborhood barber stay in business by replacing his storefront windows which were blown out by a recent deadly shooting.
It's the third time in roughly the past two years that gunfire has shattered the windows at Lacy's Barbershop on Broad Street and Plymouth Avenue in the city's Oceanview neighborhood.
Just when the Lloyd Lacy was ready to call it quits, police at Taraval Station pitched in to help.
Officers have been pooling together their change in jars around the station to raise money to replace the pricey windows. Today a contractor came out to install them.
The shop has been a fixture in the community since 1972, Lacy has run it since 1996 and bought the store in 2009. The shop is a throwback to the old barbershops, complete with vintage barber chairs, a welcoming blue and red barber pole and old fashioned razors.
Longtime customers say it's not just a place to get your haircut, it's a meeting place.
Today, regular Bernard Monroe ribbed Lacy about his March Madness team picks.
"I don't know anything about that bracket business" Lacy mumbled, smiling.
"You gotta pick your teams man!" yells Monroe.
"[Lacy] know everybody in the neighborhood and everybody love him," chuckled Robert Crenshaw. "I guess I'll come here till the day I die."
But over the past two and half years, violence has escalated. Three deadly shootings have happened right in front of Lacy's, two of them in recent months.
"It went like that...pzzzsshhhhh! And hit that picture," said Lacy wide-eyed, pointing in the trajectory of one of the dozens of bullets that whizzed through his shop. The 71-year-old father of eight said he watched two young men die right in front of him.
"And this last one..boy it was too much for me. I was like damn, whoa," he exhaled deeply, sitting in a chair.
Police once found 60 shell casings in and around his shop, Lacy said he dodged the bullets and ran to the back of the shop. He realizes that he's lucky to be alive. " I don't trip on that, man. I just learned how to duck at an early age," he laughed heartily.
The repeated shattered windows, however, became too expensive to replace. Insurance would cover the cost, but because of the frequency of how often they needed to be repaired, insurance rates would go up. Lacy was stuck.
"Lacy was just really dejected and said, 'I can't do it anymore, Captain Flaherty.' He said, 'I'm going to shut it down.' I said, 'No, Lacy you can't do that!'" said Captain Denise Flaherty, head of Taraval station.
Flaherty came up with an idea she calls "Cops Making Change."
She set up money jars around the station for officers to dump their loose change.
"What we saw over a two week period, is that officers were not only digging in there for their change, but they were digging in for their 20s, and their 5's," said Captain Flaherty.
Pretty soon, the officers had more than a thousand dollars in change.
Today they hired contractors to fix the busted windows.
"Hey Lacy how are you?" asked Captain Flaherty this morning as she walked into the shop.
Lacy was overwhelmed. "I've never had that happen to me before," he said. "The police come to me and say they gonna help me do anything. You know what I'm saying? I remember back in the day I would be runnin' from the police!"
Right now officers are digging into their own pockets once again to have the mirrors and some smaller windows replaced.
"He's an institution out there in that neighborhood and so we were more than happy to try and see if we could help him," said Officer Matthew Faliano.
Customers are proud.
"It's bigger than the window issue it's just kind of showing the community that we're going to stick together no matter what happens," said Bernard Monroe.
"We're always here for you," said Cpt. Flaherty as she hugged Lacy goodbye today.
For the 71 year old father of eight, has it changed his perception of police?
"Hell, yeah!" he chuckled. "Oh man, it's a beautiful thing. I just feel real good. I do. I feel real good."