BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Alton Sterling, 37, was a father of five and a friend to many people in Baton Rouge. However, he also had a long history with police.
During a news conference on Wednesday morning Quinyetta McMillion, the mother of one of Sterling's eldest son, asked the public to focus on the details of the shooting investigation rather than his past.
"This is a plea to try to obscure the image of a man who simply tried to earn a living to take care of his children," McMillion said.
McMillion held her son, Cameron Sterling, close as she addressed the public for this first time. The 15-year-old boy broke down before a crowd of supporters as his mother spoke.
"He had to watch this as this was put all over the (media) outlets," McMillion said.
McMillion said Alton was selling CDs outside of the Triple S Food Mart when he was tased and then shot by Baton Rouge police officers, who were later identified as Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II.
Store owner and friend, Abdul Muflahi, said Alton lived for his children.
"On his birthday, he and his son went to the movies, last week," Muflahi said.
Muflahi said he gave Alton permission to sell the CDs outside of his store because he could not find a job.
"He was a nice guy. He wasn't out here doing anything bad. He was always selling movies, minding his own business," Muflahi said.
But Alton's past paints a much different picture. 9News looked into police files and found Alton has a lengthy record spanning more than two decades. His charges include several battery, drug, and burglary charges. It also includes an arrest in 2009 for resisting an officer, illegally carrying a weapon, and unauthorized reproduction of sound recordings. He was also convicted as a sex offender in 2000 for carnal knowledge of juvenile.
McMillion acknowledged Alton's past, but pleaded with supporters to put that aside and turn their attention to the matter at hand.
"Now if we could reflect on the measure of a man it should not be judged on his past but most scientific marks that a man left his life and what he left on lives of his children," McMillion said.