A 53-year-old male was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in an apparent suicide at approximately 12 p.m. on Thursday, October 15 on 60th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues, according to cops.
Ambulances from Maimonides Medical Center and officers from the 66th Precinct arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting. The incident happened near a roofing supply office and factory where employees of the establishment, some of whom were also friends of the shooter, heard the commotion at the time of the firing.
“I was in the back working when I heard it,” said neighbor and longtime friend Steve Barbera, who told this paper that the shooter lived with his parents. “I heard the mother screaming and I came out. She speaks Italian. She was saying his name and making gestures that he had a gun. So I thought he was still alive at the time and she wanted me to go in. All I said was, try to get the parents out.”
After one of his co-workers rushed to call 911, Barbera called the victim’s brother to give him the news. “I told him his brother just shot himself and he should try to get home as soon as possible,” he said. “We grew up together. We went to FDR High School together. We were always into lifting weights as kids. He was a good guy.”
According to Barbera, the man was a fixture in the neighborhood who had started a few stores around the area. “Years ago, he had a butcher shop and a comic book shop. He was a productive guy. He had his own businesses.”
Another friend and worker at the roofing supply company Sal Elia said he wonders what transpired before the shooting. “We’ll never know what happened or what caused him to do this,” he said. “He was a great guy. He loved comics and memorabilia. He also had a book store on Fort Hamilton Parkway.”
Barbera also suggested that alcohol may have played a role in the incident. “He started drinking a lot in the last year,” he recalled. “He said he was in a depression. I asked if he wanted to start lifting weights again.”
The man was close to Barbera’s father, who recently died. “My father passed away a year ago and he was very close with my father,” he said. “He was like a second father figure to him. He took my father’s death very hard.”