James Jackson, of the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, was found with a bullet in his neck around 2:25 a.m. Sunday, police said.
Jackson’s girlfriend, who is blind, called out for him and but then got the help of a neighbor when he didn’t answer, the New York Daily News reported.
“She said she couldn't wake him up,” the neighbor, who only identified herself as Joyce, told the paper. “He was lying on the couch slumped over. It’s horrible.”
Jackson was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police told CBS News York.
His girlfriend was distraught over the shooting.
“What am I going to do now without him?” she said, according to a neighbor.
The girlfriend is not considered a suspect in the killing of Jackson, and police are unsure whether the bullet was meant for him or someone else, the Daily News reported.
Neighbor Vaughn Grandy said he could not think of a reason for the him to become a shooting victim.
"Why would anyone harm him? It would take him 20 minutes to walk down the block," Grandy told NBC New York.
Police found that the Bushwick home had no signs of forced entry.
The 79-year-old victim had been arrested nine times, according to the Daily News. Most of the arrests occurred in the 1990s and included drug and forgery charges.
A neighbor, Eric Turner, remembered Jackson as a man who would sit on his stop and offer cigarettes to those in the neighborhood.
“He was a good person,” said Turner, 47. “If you needed something, he’d always give it to you.”
No arrests have been made in the killing. Police are urging anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. Tips can be given anonymously.