CLINTON HILL — Relatives and friends of 34-year-old Jason Lewis, who was gunned down in a Clinton Hill diner early Sunday morning, remember him as a gentle "peacemaker" working to raise three children.
''He was a good guy," said his grieving brother, Steve Lewis, 56. "He was the nicest guy I ever met.''
Jason Lewis was shot at the Country House Diner on Fulton Street near Vanderbilt Avenue about 5 a.m. Sunday after a dispute with another patron, police said. Police arrested Tyrone Gainer, 27, and charged him with Lewis' murder, officials said.
Lewis left behind two boys, 6 and 14, and a 12-year-old daughter, his brother said.
''They were very close to him," Steve Lewis said. "He was close to them. He was close to everyone.''
A 50-year-old neighbor described the victim, who owned a van business, as a "peacemaker."
''Jason was sunshine. If you were feeling down about something, he'd put his arm around you. He was a great guy," said the woman, who lives in a Lefferts Place building she said Lewis owned. "You won't find anyone who had anything bad to say about him, from the senior citizens on the block to the parents.''
Abul Zaman, 48, a friend, said Lewis generously allowed him to park his cars in a lot Lewis owns.
''He was a very nice person, always good," Zaman said. "We are like family."
The fight in Country House Diner started after Gainer, who was out celebrating his birthday, allegedly approached Lewis' girlfriend, who works as a 911 dispatcher, the New York Post reported. Lewis intervened, reportedly causing Gainer to punch him.
“Why’d you smack me?” the Daily News reported Lewis as saying. “We don’t have to shed blood for this.”
Gainer then shot Lewis in the abdomen, police said.
Gainer was arrested Sunday and is charged with murder and criminal possession of a firearm.
''I just hope he stays in there and doesn't come out," Steve Lewis said. "I hope he dies there.''