Friends of a man who was shot by a police officer on Saturday identified him as a cook at the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel who sometimes stayed overnight with one of the occupants of the building where he was killed.
Police did not release the name of the man, who was shot outside the apartment building at 454 Green St., but co-workers identified him as Kreal Suchin, in his mid-20s, who was from Kazakhstan.
Friends knew him as "K" or "KGB," and about 50 of them gathered Monday night for a candlelight vigil to remember him and question why he was killed.
"He's a very sweet person," said Shante Hardy, a server at the Renaissance. "I was shocked. I thought, 'It can't be him.' "
Police said they responded to a report of a burglary in progress at the building about 10:12 p.m. and encountered a man banging on a door.
The man did not comply with police commands and "made furtive movements with his hands, at the same time, lunging towards the Officer," a police statement said.
The officer fired, killing him. Police are investigating. The department did not release the name of the officer, who was placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, a routine move in such cases. Findings will be presented to the commonwealth's attorney for review.
Maurice Wilson, a cook at an Olde Towne restaurant who lives with his wife in the building where the shooting happened, said he let Suchin stay with him and said the two were best friends.
"His clothes are in my room. His computer is in there," Wilson said. "He wasn't trying to burglarize the place. He's not a burglar. He's a friend."
Aileen Putnam, who lives around the corner, said "everybody in this neighborhood knew KGB." She said she heard six gunshots Saturday night.
Two men who live in the building said they had seen Suchin there visiting Wilson before. He often appeared intoxicated, they said.
Edgar Smith said he saw Suchin on Saturday not long before the shooting, and he was sitting on a brick curb on Green Street and later appeared to be stumbling. Smith left before the shooting happened.
Employees at the Renaissance said they were shocked to find out about Suchin's death. Their co-worker, they said, was sending money home to his brother, who was planning to move here.
Cindy Gray, a bartender at the hotel, said Suchin had worked there for about two years, was happy with his job and never showed a temper.
"He's a really hard worker," she said. "He would never hurt anybody. He'd be the first one to help you."
A memorial set up on Green Street included flowers and balloons and a sign that said "RIP KGB."
"May your soul rest in peace. This tragedy will be redeemed. We all miss you and love you so much, Adrian, Sean, Star, J, Wendy and the rest of the crew," a note at the memorial reads.
"This is just an awful thing that happened," said Bob Brennan, the executive chef at the Renaissance Hotel. "He was a gentle guy. A great guy to have around in the kitchen.... You'd be hard-pressed to find anybody who had a bad word to say about the guy."