NORWALK, Conn. – The children of South Norwalk are going to miss the victim of Wednesday's fatal shooting, according to people gathered Thursday morning at the crime scene.
The man, identified as John Alston, was shot in the abdomen at about 3:15 p.m. at 119 South Main St. He was pronounced dead at Norwalk Hospital within two hours. Norwalk Police have identified a person of interest in what they say was a spontaneous act unrelated to other shootings in Norwalk.
The victim's name was confirmed by Chief Harry Rilling, who did not have an age for Alston. A poster mounted on the fence where the shooting occurred offers more information: John "Debo" Alston was born on May 7, 1977, which would make him 35.
"Everybody liked him," said Javette, a 16-year-old who was among the three or four people lingering on the sidewalk, staring at the photo of Alston surrounded by R.I.P. notes. About 10 candles were burning on the sidewalk below the poster, and flowers were laid beside them.
Javette's mother said 20 to 30 people were at the scene until about 10 p.m., mourning Alston and erecting the shrine.
Alston was playing football with the children in Monterey Village a few days ago, she said. During school vacation he played basketball and football with the kids in the area.
"He always had kids," she said. "He was so big. He was a big guy, he took care of the kids."
A teenager named Scott came by and took photos of the shrine, and said he will miss Debo. Another woman stared silently at the poster, frowning. No one present knew where Alston lived, just that he was "always around."
Javette's mother said all of her children were upset by the loss. Her 7-year-old son woke up during the night because he was depressed and was having trouble in school Thursday, she said.
"He was a cool guy to me," she said. "I didn't have no problems with him. It's a sad situation. I've got too many kids involved."
The death was "senseless," she said.
A reader of The Daily Norwalk commented Wednesday evening that she had seen Alston arguing with another man. She was glad she had left the area before the shooting occurred.
"You don't know," Javette's mother said. "Here today, gone tomorrow. Such a senseless thing."