Barber Alex Wilie (above) talks about regular Saheed Vassell a day after the unarmed Vassell was fatally shot by cops in Crown Heights.
Barber Alex Wilie (above) talks about regular Saheed Vassell a day after the unarmed Vassell was fatally shot by cops in Crown Heights.

Saheed Vassell died as he lived: on the familiar streets of Crown Heights.

The bipolar Brooklynite became a neighborhood regular over the years, welcomed in local businesses where he worked a few random hours or did some dance steps to earn a buck.

He was a friend, a father and a sometimes drinking buddy, a quirky and constant presence.

At a vigil for him Thursday night, friends released white and red balloons in Vassell’s memory.

“He was part of us, part of our family,” said barber Alex Willie as friends and neighbors mourned his death. “He was a good dude. He wasn’t a threat to society.”

None of the locals or the Vassell family could foresee his brutal death: killed on a Crown Heights corner after one final, bizarre walk down the local sidewalks.

Mourners pay their respects near the scene where Saheed Vassell was shot by the NYPD in Crown Heights.
Mourners pay their respects near the scene where Saheed Vassell was shot by the NYPD in Crown Heights.

“I didn’t sleep,” said his sister Vernita. “I still can’t believe it.”

Neighbors recalled…