Sean Overton, 42, who also worked construction to support his daughter, 4, and son, 2, was shot outside 2-10 Astoria Blvd., near First Street, about 5:09 p.m., NYPD officials said.
He had been speaking with a friend just moments before and asked if he could borrow a football video game, the friend said.
"I was going back inside and the shots happened. There were four or five. There was one shot, then a two or three-second gap, then about three more," said the 38-year-old friend who wouldn't give his name.
"I ran into my building. When I went back out, I saw him on the floor. He was on his back. He wasn't moving."
Overton, who lived in the same housing project, was conscious when he was taken to Mount Sinai Queens where he later died, police said.
The shooter had not been arrested as of Monday morning and the motive for the shooting was not clear.
Overton's mother, who lives nearby, visited the scene the next morning. She lifted a piece of cardboard that someone had placed over a blood stain on the ground and then spread her arms wide.
"Baby, I love you. Rest in peace," said the grieving mother, Sheila Overton-Crump, 66.
"The last four years, watching him be a father made me so proud of him. I don't have no pain, no sadness, I had him for a long time. I can't cry. He gave me so much joy," Overton-Crump said.
He was a devoted and doting father, she said.
"He'd work 16 hours for his kids. That's all he was about. He was good to friends and family. The only fault he had as a father was that he believed in buying his kids name brands," his mom said.
She paused and gave her son a final message.
"You rest in peace, baby. I'll see you."