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"Local residents are still stunned by the loss of Henry Hunter, or Pop, as he was known in this Harlem neighborhood. Pop's Barber Shop was a gathering place for everyone from local kids to well-known celebrities. But now, it's become something all too familiar in Harlem – a crime scene. Unknown assailants fired into the shop just after 9:00 last night, killing Mr. Hunter. Wilfredo Diaz, an employee, was also critically wounded."
Megan McLaren[src]

The Attack on Pop's Barber Shop was an assassination attempt on Chico Diaz that resulted in the death of Pop.

Background

"Pop wants to set up a parley for Chico, he doesn't want him to end up like Shameek."
"I don't know what you talking about."
"Those cuts on your hand say different. All I'm saying is if you want to talk to Pop about Chico, it can be arranged."
Luke Cage and Cottonmouth[src]

As Cage returned to Harlem's Paradise, he was approached by Nate who called on his late arrival and said he has the money. However, Cage ignored him as he continued towards Cottonmouth. Cage approached Cottonmouth and Mariah Dillard, but not before being approached by Tone and patted down to check for concealed weapons. He told Cottonmouth that he is speaking to him on Pop's behalf. When asked why he couldn't come himself, Cage said that he wants to set up a parley between him and Chico Diaz, not wanting him to end up like Shameek Smith.

Cottonmouth denied what he was talking about, but Cage retorted that he does referring to his bruised knuckles. Cage said a talk can be arranged at Pop's Barber Shop, his money returned to him and Chico leaving New York, never to return. Cottonmouth mocked him, claiming that he could talk to Pop when he wanted. Cage gave Cottonmouth the picture of him, Pop and Fredo Diaz when they were young, asking him to remember his history. Cottonmouth agreed to get a haircut at the shop around the same time and fired Cage, but Cage claimed he quit before he could even fire him, as he left.[3]

Attack

"Did you guys shoot up Pop's Barber Shop to get to him?"
"There's rules to this shit. Pop's was Switzerland. Everybody loved him. One of Cottonmouth's guys, Tone, was reckless. When he found out Chico was there, he lit the place up. I couldn't stop him in time."
Misty Knight and Shades[src]

Cage returned to Pop's Barber Shop and told Pop that Cottonmouth would only speak to him within the shop. Suddenly, Chico Diaz came downstairs with the money, wanting to buy a tv for the back room. Suddenly, the shop got attacked by Tone, as Cage rushed towards Lonnie Wilson to deflect the bullets from him. Diaz got injured in the arm, while Pop got shot in the neck and started to bleed violently. As the bullets continued, Cage told Wilson to play dead.

CageMourningPop

Once the bullets stopped, Tone and Shades entered the remains of the shop, checking to see if anyone survived and took the bag of money. As they left, Cage asked if Lonnie was alright and noticed Pop on the ground, as he bled hard. He rushed to his side, as he lay dying and screamed for an ambulance. With Pop reaching his final few moments, he asked Cage to swear to "move forward, always." Cage agreed and Pop died in his arms. As Cage mourned the loss of his friend, his anger for Cottonmouth and Mariah Dillard grew as he blamed them both for Pop's tragic and untimely death.

As the police began investigating, Diaz was taken to an ambulance and Pop put in a body bag, he was approached by Misty Knight, who asked if he was alright. She began to question how he survived the bullets, to which he quickly refused to answer. He just told her that he quickly shielded Wilson and that's all that happened. Knight asked him how long he worked at Pop's, to which he answered five months. She then asked if Diaz was hiding at the shop the whole time, but Cage did not answer. As Knight left him, Cage continued to blankly stare out, reeling from the events that happened.[3]

Aftermath

"Somebody would have seen him, might as well be me! How was I supposed to know Tone was going to shoot up the shop? Whole damn world knew that Pop's was Switzerland. Forever."
Turk Barrett to Luke Cage[src]

With Pop's Barber Shop now closed, Harlem's youth no longer had a safe haven from gangs, and Pop, a mentor to Harlem's youth, had been caught in the crossfire. Cottonmouth was devastated upon hearing that Pop had died, and responded to Tone's callous attitude by pushing him off a roof to his death.

Back at his apartment above Genghis Connie's, Luke Cage sat in silence on his own and continued to mourn the loss of his dear friend Pop and the destruction of the barber shop. He sat down on his chair, looking at his swear jar, which had also been hit by one of Tone's bullets. Seeing what he considered to be the symbol of Pop's vision for his barber shop, a peaceful place where there was no crime or even swearing, Cage decided it was time to take action. Then, he looked up at Dillard's New Harlem Renaissance pamphlet which had been given to him by Zip the night before.[3]

Cage's decision to take action ultimately doomed Cottonmouth's empire; the Raid of the Crispus Attucks Complex financially crippled Cottonmouth[4], and eventually Cottonmouth accidentally provoked Mariah Dillard into killing him in a rage[5], which in turn led to Diamondback's temporary rise and eventually Dillard's rise.[6]

References

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