Friend: Slain Red Hook man was ‘a hood Santa Claus’ • Brooklyn Paper

Friend: Slain Red Hook man was ‘a hood Santa Claus’

A fiend shot and killed a man in his Red Hook Houses apartment on Oct. 5, police said.

Officers responded to a 911 call at 11:33 am on Sunday and found Howard “Tony” Sterling, 53, shot in the left leg in his home on the pedestrian-only Bush Street between Columbia and Hicks streets, according to a report. Sterling was unconscious when cops arrived, and paramedics transported him to New York Methodist Hospital, where a doctor pronounced him dead on arrival, NYPD officials said.

A man who said he had known Sterling for decades described a big-hearted guy who would go out of his way to help anyone in the poor neighborhood.

“He was a hood philanthropist, a hood Santa Claus,” said Suliman Stevens, a Red Hook resident who said he grew up with Sterling. “I tell you, he’s really going to be missed. He had an impact on this neighborhood. Everyone is in mourning.”

Sterling had several children, according to Stevens.

Police deemed Sterling’s death a murder and an investigation is ongoing, according to the authorities.

Sterling’s death is the first homicide this year in the 76th police precinct, which encompasses Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, the Columbia Waterfront District, and Red Hook, police data show.

Even as he lamented the loss of Sterling, Stevens marveled at how little violence there is in Red Hook these days.

“The neighborhood has absolutely gotten better,” he said. “It’s already the 10th month and this is the only one? Obviously I’d like to have no murders, but that is not realistic.”

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhuro‌witz@‌cnglo‌cal.com or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz

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