The Bahamian girlfriend of a man killed in Walmart, Lauderdale Lakes, said his killing is forever etched in her memory. But she will remember him for his big heart.
“Having a big heart that he has, he went down a hero,” Makia Ford said of her boyfriend Thierry Bastien who was identified as Haitian-American.
Ford, who is from the Bahamas but lives in the US, said she and 41-year-old Bastien were alerted to cries of ‘help’ from a woman while the couple and their children shopped at Walmart, Lauderdale Lakes in Broward County, Florida.
Bastien ran to assist the woman involved in a dispute with another Walmart employee who was not on duty at the time.
“I told him, ‘Don’t go,’ but he said he’s just going to help,” Ford told Local 10 News.
As Ford looked on, 22-year-old Tirone Sterling shot Bastien, though she pleaded with him to save her boyfriend’s life who fathered two children, including an infant she held in her arms at the time of the incident.
Instead, an angry Sterling stood over Bastien and shot him six times— in the leg, stomach and chest.
Bastien died in the hospital.
“He was all about family, working, and taking care of his family. It’s not fair to the kids. It’s not fair to me,” Ford said.
“He (Sterling) just took that away from us.”
Bastien grew up in a close-knit family with Karlise Honore, his cousin in Brooklyn. She remembers him as “big-hearted” and “charming.” Later, he moved from New York to South Florida where he founded a label company, CZF Da Label.
“If you met him for two minutes, you would feel like you know him,” Honore said.
Though many debated Bastien’s choice to interrupt a fight, Honore said, “In this day and age, your good deed might cause a negative result and something that’s harmful. I think it’s hard for some people who are naturally good-natured and want to see people protected. It’s hard for them to stand back.”
Maxine Pierre who is a friend of the victim said Bastien always defended him against bullies when they were children. “As a Haitian immigrant, I’d get bullied all the time. Thierry Bastien would stand up for me whenever he was around. He’d even walk with me on his way home some days.”
Karl Abellard echoed his sentiments. “He stood up for many kids in the neighborhood.”
Sterling was arrested hours later at an apartment complex and was charged with murder.
Ford said Sterling’s arrest will do nothing to quash the horror she witnessed. She’s forever changed.
“It’s the sounds that playback in your head. It’s the whole scene that plays back in your head.”