Murder of beloved Gastonia barber remains unsolved one year later

Johnny Moore, 33, was shot and killed on July 26, 2021, on Allison Avenue.
A reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of the person or persons who shot and killed a well-known Gastonia barber one year ago.
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 5:21 AM EDT
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GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) – A reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of the person or persons who shot and killed a well-known Gastonia barber one year ago.

Johnny Moore, 33, was shot and killed on July 26, 2021, on Allison Avenue.

Inside the Erwin Center Wednesday, memories were shared about “John Luke” by his family and friends. The center is the same place where Moore grew up as a child.

“John Luke pretty much stayed here just like the rest of the kids. His grandma stayed next door,” said former director Darryl McClure.

One year later, there are still no arrests.

“John Luke was a person, if you were having a dull moment.. you could not, not laugh around him. He was going to make you laugh and smile. If you needed something, he got you,” said Moore’s cousin, Quason Murray.

His aunt, Laurette Avery, agreed.

“He loved family. He loved family and like Quay said he was goofy. You couldn’t get angry with him. Even if I thought I was angry, ‘Oh, you’re not mad’ and he had this thing he would take his finger and flip my bottom lip but he was such a joy,” she said.

The reason behind the shooting is also unknown.

“I wont say how or why someone could do this to John Luke especially because I can’t even think of a reason why someone would want to do something so gruesome to such a loving person. He was the life of the party no matter where,” Avery said. “You were going to know that he was in the room. You weren’t going to ignore him. He made sure of that. So I missed that most about him and my husband worked third shift and I could always count on John Luke to get me home if I got sleepy.”

Murray says they’re leaning on God to remain positive.

“Everyday is a struggle. But you know what, with God and family we try to keep pushing just to remain positive. But you know, we have our days. That’s my first cousin, my cousin so with that being said it’s just like that’s one of my first friends,” said Murray.

Moore’s friend, Brandon Jefferies, also recalled the moments spent together.

“I mean, its crazy to me that somebody who just take a kindhearted guy like that. Cold-blood. He was too kindhearted. He helped out in the community anyway he could, he helped friends and families. He was a real one. It just hurt that we ain’t got no answers and to take a man life that, it doesn’t make any sense,” he said.

Moore, his family says, was always willing to give back to the Gastonia community.

“He used to come and volunteer with the Next Level Barbershop. City of Gastonia Police Department every year had a three-on-three basketball tournament right on the outside out there and he would come with them. No matter who was out there, they cut heads if there was one head, 20 heads or 25, he was part of that giving back to the community,” said McClure. “No matter what, you can always put John Luke in there that he was gonna come with Next Level Barbershop and give back to the community.”

He was the first student and graduate at Next Level Barber Academy in Gastonia.

Related: Gaston Co. family hopes increased reward leads to arrest in beloved barber’s murder

Last year, a memorial with messages and balloons covered his barber chair.

Moore’s family raised money as a reward for any information to help find whoever killed him.

“That has been our prayer all along from the beginning. That praying that someone would either be convicted or get antsy. Somebody’s gonna say something I pray but you know, God knows. So I’m praying that God will convict whoever...convict their heart that they’ll come forward with the truth,” said Avery.

According to the Gastonia Police Department, the reward for any information that leads to an arrest in the case currently stands at $5,030.

Anyone with any information about the cast is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Gaston County at (704) 861-8000.

Callers may remain anonymous.

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