Safety tips for dating app users in wake of murder of renowned hair stylist

Posted at 6:25 PM, Feb 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 22:02:13-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — "We just try to promote safe decisions and safe behaviors as much as possible knowing that dating apps and dating can be a risk, period," said Jerron Totten of LGBT Detroit when talking about ways to stay safe when meeting up with people after connecting online or through apps.

Tuesday night, renowned hair stylist Bashar Kallabat was found beaten to death inside a room at the JZ Motel on Eight Mile Road on Detroit's east side.

Police arrested a suspect, a security guard for GardaWorld, that they believe Kallabat met through a dating app. Investigators said possible motives include robbery.

A spokesperson for the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said they expect Detroit Police to present a warrant request to them Friday.

Early Tuesday evening, Kallabat paid a rideshare company to drive the 24-year-old man to the motel, according to police who also said the man stayed approximately three hours before he is seen on surveillance video leaving the room.

The body of the Bloomfield Hills man was found by a worker at the motel when he hadn't checked out.

Retired Detroit Police Lieutenant T. Berry advises people using dating apps to let the person you are meeting know that you are being careful by taking their picture with you and sending it to a trusted friend or family member.

Totten urges people to meet someone in a public place during the day, and, if it's late at night, he urges meeting them in a 24-hour establishment where you can get something to drink and feel them out before engaging sexually.

"I would also recommend going out and meeting a person multiple times before bringing them back to your house," said Totten.

Advice listed on some dating apps includes giving your trusted friend or family member updates during the date to let them know you're okay or that something doesn't feel right.

Click on the video to hear additional safety information in Kimberly Craig's report.