Stylist found murdered in Detroit motel may have met suspect on dating app, police say

Bashar Kallabat, a nationally known hairstylist from the metro area who was found dead in a motel room Tuesday night may have met the man suspected of killing him on a dating app, according to Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Craig made the comments during a press conference on Tuesday, saying they believe Kallabat was meeting a man he met online at the JZ Motel in Detroit.

"To anyone who uses these apps: be careful, let people know where you are," Craig said.

Bashar, 56, was found dead by hotel staff at the JZ Motel on 8 Mile, near Gratiot Avenue, around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night. A 24-year-old man, who has not yet been named, was arrested Wednesday morning

Craig said at a news conference Wednesday that surveillance video from a nearby Project Green Light business, led police to the suspect.

"Had it not been for our green light at this hotel, this may have been a who done it," Craig said.

Friends of Bashar, like Chuck Bennett, were stunned as the news of his violent death spread Wednesday.

"This is the reminder to us how fragile life is," Bennett said. "I felt terrible. I mean I was shocked." 

Detroit police sources say the Bloomfield Hills man checked into room 127 of the JZ motel on 8 Mile just before 6 p.m. Tuesday and was supposed to check out three hours later. Motel manager, identified only as Devan, says he stays there often and even has a specific room.

Around 6:30 Tuesday, sources say a Lyft driver dropped off a 24-year-old man wearing dark clothing and a security guard jacket - carrying a backpack. Green Light surveillance video showed the man had been inside his room for a couple of hours but left around 9 p.m. and was last seen walking along 8 Mile Road that night.

Devan says the front desk clerk - then discovered Bashar.

"The door was left open and the lights were on. While he opened the door there was a body on the floor and there was blood," Devan said.

Devan says Bashar was still breathing and the clerk called 911, but he died shortly after.

Sources say Bashar had severe injuries to his face and head and there was blood all over the room along with scattered hair products. 

Craig said they believe the two met on a dating app and that Bashar then paid for the man's Lyft ride to the motel. The suspect was arrested just 12 hours later and sources say he had been working security at the ATF Building in Detroit's Brewery Park.

According to Bashar's website - he's spent the last 25 years perfecting his craft and had been featured in magazines like Vogue and Allure. He also worked at New York fashion week and has directed music videos.

"Celebrities and regular people alike would seek Bashar out," Bennett said.

Friends say the self-made stylist was the son of Iraqi immigrants and came to the US when he was a toddler. He was known for his impeccable style and was a proud father to a son now in his mid-twenties.