Store owner gunned down during robbery

August 28, 2008 7:19:10 AM PDT
A video store owner was fatally shot during a robbery in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn Wednesday.Authorities say the 55-year-old man was gunned down inside 27 Lott Avenue at around noon.

Police have identified the victim as Steven Howard, a man described by neighbors as a kind man who worked hard to make an honest living.

Howard's distraught wife and son stormed past the police tape to personally confirm the unthinkable, that this husband and father was murdered in broad daylight.

Confused and racked with grief, the widow now tries to make some sense of the senseless today. Who could do this to him? His lone son could summon no answer.

"It's not like he was out here doing something like he was a threat. For someone to do something like that, a cowardly act like that, to someone who is not a threat is just a coward," Agaja Oyo Shabazz said.

Howard owned the Whole Nine Yards, a video and music store.

Two armed men walked into the store apparently to rob it and fired a single shot, killing Howard. He worked in the community and looked out for the community.

"It's a tragedy because if you talk about someone who is giving in the community, for someone to take some here -- it's definitely a tragedy. It's a loss because we need more people like him. It's unfortunate that some fool has taken it upon themselves to devalue life," community advocate Tony Herbert said.

"They ain't got no heart, who did it," area resident Chrissy Ferenzo said. "No heart at all."

Neighbors say Howard would often let customers borrow DVDs even when they had no money.

"It couldn't have been someone who knew him," resident Nicole Rutledge said. "Because if he had it and you needed it, he'd give it to you."

The suspects fled the scene. Police were still looking for them on Wednesday night.

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STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporters Joe Torres and Jim Dolan

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King and Bob Monek

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