Police asking public for help in Clayton Park shooting

Police are asking for the public's help in connection with the shooting death of a man outside a bar in Halifax's Clayton Park neighbourhood early Friday morning.

John Newcombe, tattoo artist and hip hop performer, gunned down

John Newcombe was a tattoo artist and hip hop artist in the Halifax area. (YouTube)

Police are asking for the public's help in connection with the shooting death of a man outside a bar in Halifax's Clayton Park neighbourhood early Friday morning.

Halifax Regional Police said officers were called to the Clayton Park Shopping Centre at 2 a.m.

They found a fatally injured man outside Winston's Pub & Eatery.

"He had just walked out of that establishment when the shots were fired. He was just outside on the sidewalk outside of that business and essentially that's where he was shot and ended up dying," said Const. Brian Palmeter.

Palmeter said in a video release the victim left the bar and was walking toward a nearby alley when the suspect or suspects fired a number of shots at the victim.

Palmeter said the suspect then went back through the alleyway and fled on Willet Street.

Police said the shooting was not random and that the victim was targeted but didn't say why.

They are asking anyone with information about the shooting to contact police.

Police have not released the victim's name. But sources tell CBC News he is John Newcombe, a 27-year-old tattoo artist and hip hop artist from the Halifax area.

As a performer he's known as Nukem. Guns and drugs are recurrent themes in his videos

Court records show Newcombe had nine convictions since 2007, including one for drug trafficking, three for uttering death threats and others for mischief, failing to attend a court date, and failing to comply with conditions imposed by the court.

Tattoo shop mourns loss of 'family member'

Newcombe was working at Newcombe's Tattoos on Sackville Street in Halifax, but about a year ago he made the move to Oceanic Art Custom Tattooing in Dartmouth, the CBC's Shaina Luck reported.

In a press release Friday evening Scott Forbes, the owner of Oceanic Art, said Newcombe was like a member of the family and will be greatly missed.

"It is with sadness and sorrow that Oceanic Art has learned of the death of one of its family members and resident artists," Forbes wrote.

Newcombe was working at Newcombe's Tattoos on Sackville Street in Halifax, but he left less than a year ago to move to Oceanic Tattoos in Dartmouth. (CBC)

"He will be remembered as a tremendous friend and talented tattoo artist in our community. Our thoughts are with him, his family and his friends."

Forbes requested that the media and public keep their distance regarding the matter.

"As you understand, our community is tightly knit and a loss of this caliber affects us all greatly," he said in the release.

Five shots

Tor Kleppe and his friend Nick Eade were across the parking lot when they heard gunfire.

"We heard five shots. It sounded like fireworks, we thought at first," Kleppe told reporters.

Kleppe and Eade said it wasn't long before police and paramedics arrived. They decided to walk over to see the commotion.

Eade, 17, said there was a crowd of about 15 to 20 people outside, and many were  "freaking out that someone just got shot."

Police photograph evidence near the shooting scene. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

He said the victim's girlfriend was on the ground crying.

The two young men watched as the paramedics performed CPR on the victim then pulled a white sheet over him.

The shooting happened after a hip hop show at the bar. Touted as "Live Thursdays," the event was scheduled to wrap up at 2 a.m.

"We are taking statements, canvassing the area," Palmeter said, adding that investigators will also check video surveillance tapes of the area.

"At this point we don't have any information about a suspect that we can release. But hopefully once we finish interviewing some more people we'll have some more information that we can put out to the public."

Police were gathering evidence Friday morning. Officers were in a nearby alley and on the roof of the mall.

This is the second shooting death in Halifax in a week. Corey Duane Lucas died last Friday after a shooting at an apartment on Clifton Street.

This is the seventh homicide in the region this year.

The pub was once known as the Copper Penny. Dinky Sparks was shot and killed in the parking lot in 2002. BJ Marriott and Jason Dorey later pleaded guilty.