It wasn’t uncommon for George Tillman to visit his family in South Ozone Park.
The Maryland resident would like to visit his uncle, Anthony Tillman Jr., to talk “about God and how God was doing things for him in his life.”
“My brother and his mother raised him to be a fine young black man in this world,” Anthony Tillman said.
Tillman was once again visiting his family in South Ozone Park on April 19, standing next to a double-parked car with an open container of alcohol when he was stopped by cops, allegedly because he had a gun on him.
Police say Tillman ran away and, after encountering backup officers, reached for a firearm and was subsequently shot by the police in his torso.
The Medical Examiner’s Office later said he died of a gunshot wound to the head.
He was 32.
At a community forum arranged by state Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-South Ozone Park) last Thursday, Tillman’s family and friends fought back against what they called the “narrative” that he would be the type of person to raise a gun at law enforcement.
Anthony Tillman Jr. spoke on behalf of his nephew’s family, who sat quietly during the event.
“George was raised in Jamaica and was raised in a Christian family,” he said. “He went to school, got an education. He was young and got married. He took care of his children.”
More than anything else, George Tillman was a devout Christian.
“You’re looking at a young man who was deeply religious and had morals and values that he lived by and that he was raised up with,” Anthony Tillman said.
George Tillman worked as a licensed electrician in a union in Maryland, where he lived with his wife and five children.
The family’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, said it “doesn’t make sense” that a man who so eagerly cared for his family would threaten to shoot at police.
“Does that sound like someone who is going to have a loaded weapon ready to shoot law enforcement?” Lichtman asked.
A woman in the crowd last week spoke of the Campbell family — Campbell is George Tillman’s mother’s maiden name — as hardworking people.
“Her father was a business man who had a barber shop,” the woman said. “Her brothers were carpenters. Don’t think [George] came from nowhere ... he wasn’t a nobody, cause God don’t make nobodies.”
People in the audience said they’ve known the Tillman family for a long time, adding that they were active in the community. One man remembered how they would give out gifts around Christmastime.
Tillman will be waked on Friday, April 29 at New Jerusalem Worship Center, 122-05 Smith St. in Jamaica, from 7 to 9 p.m.
His funeral will be held the next day at the same place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.