Man, 24, arrested in Detroit killing of 'revered' hair stylist

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Detroit — A 24-year-old man was arrested Wednesday in the beating death of a well-known hair stylist at a northeast Detroit motel, police Chief James Craig said.

The body of Bashar Kallabat, 56, was found Tuesday night at JZ Motel on the 14700 block of East Eight Mile, with injuries that led investigators to believe he died from blunt force trauma.

Kallabat, 56, was "revered by many, loved by many," Craig said at a news conference at police headquarters.

Bashar Kallabat

Kallabat and the suspect, police "believe, but are not certain," may have met through a dating app, the chief said.

The suspect, Craig said, arrived at the motel through a rideshare app. What complicated matters for investigators, though, is that Kallabat paid for the ride.

"If the victim pays for the ride, no one knows who the suspect is," Craig said. "My suggestion is, don't do it."

Craig declined to discuss a possible motive for the slaying but said the victim and the suspect didn't know each other before last night.

The chief said high-definition surveillance footage obtained through the city's Project Green Light program helped police catch the suspected killer, who wore a "distinctive security guard uniform or jacket," Craig said.

"Had it not been for Project Green Light footage, this could've been a whodunit," he said.

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Craig warned of the dangers of dating apps, citing a case from late last year in Michigan in which a man was killed and mutilated after an online rendezvous. The suspect in that case has been referred for a mental health evaluation.

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"Sex offenders are using these apps," Craig said. "So use extreme caution."