Monday, July 20, 2009



A church-going Bronx man died trying to protect his beloved brother from an armed mugger who followed him home Sunday night, police and neighbors said.

Eric Baxter parked his car in front of the Williamsbridge home he shared with his brother at 11:15 p.m. and was ambushed by a gun-toting robber demanding money, witnesses told police.

Baxter pounded on the door of the three-story building screaming for help, witnesses said.

"He was shouting to his brother, 'Call the police!'" said tenant and longtime friend Jacob Adams, 71, who was awakened by the panicked shouts.

Sydney Michael Baxter, 50, burst through the front door, pushed his brother aside, and confronted the gunman, witnesses said.

The robber started firing, striking Sydney Baxter three times in the chest. He died minutes later at Jacobi Medical Center, police said.

Eric Baxter collapsed in grief when he returned home from the hospital after saying a final goodbye to his slain brother, neighbors said.

"He just almost fainted," said one friend. "I tried to comfort him."

The two brothers were born in Jamaica but grew up in London before finally settling in the Bronx, friends said.

Sydney, a successful accountant and car salesman, and Eric, a computer specialist, pooled their money to buy their building on Laconia Ave., and their good fortune may have made them a target, friends suggested.

"[They were] very aggressive financially," said Adams. "Maybe that's why they came hunting for his money."

Sydney Baxter, a Baruch College graduate, worshipped regularly at the First Ghana Seventh Day Adventist Church and was known as friendly figure throughout the neighborhood, friends said.

"He always worked for what he had and was very kind, very kind," Adams said. "It's a tragic death. You couldn't find a harder working person."

The brothers' parents still live in London and were expected to travel to the Bronx for a funeral in the coming days, friends said.

The gunman fled the scene and has not yet been found, police said.

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