For Alton Sterling, a Troubled Life Ends With Cop’s Bullets

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Sterling, 37, hustled all his life, scraping up money in $5 increments by selling copies of movies, albums and games, says the Baton Rouge Advocate. Sterling sold the goods off a table he set up each day in front of the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge, where he was shot by a police officer. A cousin, Sharida Sterling, said he had a rough childhood but “really was a good person.”

A father of five, his life was punctuated by arrests and jail terms dating to 1996, including a conviction for engaging in sex with a minor when he was 20 years old. In 2009, he had an encounter with police similar to the one that ended in his death. Police found him armed with an unregistered handgun and possessing marijuana while selling CDs. He pleaded guilty to gun and drug felonies and was sentenced to five years in prison. He returned to selling CDs after his parole. His mother, Quinyetta McMillion, told reporters that focusing on Sterling’s past mistakes “obscured the image of a man who was simply trying to earn a living to take care of his children.”

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