CLINTON HILL — Friends and family members of 23-year-old Antonio Benito Wilson II were grief-stricken Monday by the fashion designer and photographer's "senseless death."
Wilson was hit by a stray bullet while leaving the Fork Café on Myrtle Avenue in Clinton Hill close to midnight on Friday May 31.
He was celebrating the start of summer with his friends.
"We were at the wrong place at the wrong time," wrote Wilson's friend Koby Akyirem on Instagram. "For as long as I've know tone this dude has never tried to intimidate anyone with his structure or even with words."
Wilson was 6 feet 8 inches tall, according to his ex-girlfriend Rosy Ailin, but was just a big "teddy bear."
Friends also called him the "coolest humble gentle giant."
His cousin Candace Freeman said he kept everyone smiling.
"He was this really big guy but he never intimidated anyone," she said. "He just made people laugh."
Wilson grew up near Mount Eden in the Bronx where he played football for an independent league. After high school he went to New York City College of Technology and later worked for Time Warner Cable. He grew up in a tight-knit and loving family, his cousin said.
"He was very close to and protective of his younger brother Brandon," Freeman said. He also had an older sister.
Freeman said that Wilson had an eye for photography and fashion design and was always extremely well dressed. He helped to design styles for Koutour Life, a street wear brand based out of NYC.
"He could always see the pretty things in life," Freeman said. "It showed in his photography."
The corner was quiet on Monday afternoon as locals reacted to Wilson's death.
Angel Rivera, who's lived in Clinton Hill since 1972, said the neighborhood's influx of new restaurants and bars could be working against it.
"The more restaurants you have, the more crowd it brings, and sometimes it brings people to the neighborhood that maybe have bad intentions," said Rivera, 48.
"In they daytime the neighborhood's great," he added, "[but then] the good ones go in and the bad ones come out. It's like a shift change."