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

The Brooklyn Paper
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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 or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Or from Yellow Hook says:
I got nothing.
Oct. 6, 2014, 7:42 pm
Henrietta Perkins from Red Hook Projects says:
my tony sterling rest in peace....
before u print something u need to get it right....
Oct. 8, 2014, 1:23 pm
Renee says:
R.I.P tony you will be very missed
Oct. 8, 2014, 3:28 pm
malik; from redhook says:
Last time I seen my brother all was good we shared our love for one another in my heart he will definitly be miss; will miss you my brother!
Love You,
Malik and Trina
Oct. 11, 2014, 1:23 am
Trina from redhook says:
Tony you will definitely be missed. When I came to Redhook on Sept. 9 that morning he was the first person I seen and he was by Center Mall walking his dog. He gave me a hug and a kiss but he seen where I was upset and he talked to me and my husband Malik. When I read the blog was when I believed the heart broken news. My sympathy goes out to his family. My brother will be missed. Love You, Trina and Malik
Oct. 11, 2014, 1:31 am
Melvina "Mel" Cantrell from Redhook PJ's says:
Tony and I went to JHS 142 and John Jay HS. He was my high school sweetheart! Very generous and very loving even back then. Kind hearted to a fault. Sleep In Peace Tony and thank you so much for the memories!
Oct. 13, 2014, 2:44 pm
Alice from Red Hook says:
Me and my Husband have known Tony all of our lives. I can think of nothing negative to say about Tony, other than that he was a kind, giving, thoughful human being who always had a smile and tried to help anyone he could. Just because he didn't wear a shirt and Tie or had a 9 to 5, did make him a bad person. The heavens have opened there gates and welcomed another Red Hook Angel. R.I.P.
Oct. 14, 2014, 6:58 pm
Dominique from Red Hook says:
Its just sad and unfortunate that this man was killed. But its not surprising. There are a lot of ignorant people still living in these projects! I hope they find his killer.
Oct. 26, 2014, 1:47 am
Teddy ( Ali ) Sterling from Redhook says:
First and foremost, I would just like to Thank all of my brothers and sister's who gave much love and support. l would like to take this time to speak my mind on a few things surrounding the tragic death of my brother Tony Sterling. I may step on a few toes in the process, but look at it this way if I step one or two you still have 8-9 to work with. My brother as we all know and read was a giver, he made people happy. There were people that were around him daily and for some reason nobody seen or heard anything. I find that to be pretty amazing if you ask me. Tony was not just robbed of his life,but everything that he had. How low could someone go as to steal from a dead man. Persons reading this blog know exactly who I am talking about. Hope you can live with that. Once again I want to Thank all my brother's and sister's for the love. Ooooh ! Ooooh! PARADISE !!!!
Oct. 29, 2014, 9:47 am
Dee & Bree from Red Hook says:
My thoughts & prayers to the Sterling family. We lost a good, Kind & giving person who did not deserved to go out that way. I remember always seeing Tony around the neighborhood always in good spirits with a smile & a baseball cap sometimes. He seemed happy to be the hood he was raised in. Tragically his life was taken for something that he always had to help others. RIP Tony & may God bless you up there
Oct. 30, 2014, 10:53 am
Niomi from Pittsfield says:
We all love and miss u uncle tony. Shaquana, Alivia, Jeroen, Michael, and Niomi Melville Sleep In Peace : )
Nov. 29, 2014, 12:52 pm
jose from redhook says:
My deepest sympathy. I may have not known you ,but I truly admired on what you did for the people in the hood and the family that needed help. Rip. God bless your soul.
Dec. 14, 2014, 2:32 am
Jasmine your daughter from RED HOOK says:
I didnt think i would post on here , but damn i cant hold back anymore I ——ING MISS YOU SO BADLY ! Why ! Why did you let them get you ! Why did you let them take you from us !!!! I HATE THEM ! Its been a while but it still feels like a minute ago. Seeing you laying there mentally messed my head up .i have not gave up or let you go and i still cant . I wont . I love you so much you dont know. - jazzy
May 23, 2016, 2:24 am

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