Eric Vassell's four-year-old granddaughter asked him how long her uncle will be dead. The immigrant from Jamaica said he doesn't know how to explain.
"She just doesn't understand, and it's something that she will never understand," Eric Vassell told me.
Vassell said he saw his son, 35-year-old Saheed Vassell, just hours before he was shot by police two blocks from their home Wednesday afternoon.
He said he had no idea it would be the last time he would see his son alive.
Eric Vassell said Saheed suffered from bipolar disorder but was harmless.
"He's polite, nice, he's kind. He just comes and he goes," Eric Vassell said.
Police said officers responded to a flood of 911 calls of a man pointing a gun at people, not an emotionally disturbed person. They said when two officers approached him, he refused to drop what they believed was a silver firearm.
Police said the man "took a two-handed shooting stance'' and approached the officers.
Four officers, three in plainclothes and one in uniform, then fired a total of 10 shots, striking the man, police said. The man shot was pronounced dead at Kings County Hospital.
Police said Wednesday around 7:30 p.m. that it may have been a pipe in the man's hands.
Vassell's father said it was, of course, not a gun. "He doesn't have access to guns, because he's been sick for a long time," Eric Vassell said.
Community members, too, are angry and demanded justice, shouting down police near the scene of the shooting.
"Why didn't they taser him? Why didn't they shoot him on the leg?" one man said near the scene after the shooting.
"These police are murderers, and you know it too. In every state, they murder black people and they get away with it," said a woman near the scene. "We have to take action or we won't get justice."
Eric Vassell said he's pretending to put on a strong face, as his family mourns their loss.
"I'm planning on coping with my loss through my church, my children, and friends, because there are so many friends keep calling because he grew up here as a young kid," he said.
As the investigation continues, tensions in the community are boiling, with questions unanswered.
Saheed Vassell also leaves behind a teenage son.