"That's what I liked about him. He always kept his sons in there. Not just running around in there. He always had them focused on activities, organized activities," Shamsuddin Alhad said.
Police say, however, the loving environment Cross created inside his barber shop turned into a frightening case of self defense.
With his 9-year-old son inside the shop, an armed robber walked in and demanded money.
Cross turned over some money to the man, described as in his 30's.
"The owner turned over some money to this individual, and the robber was not satisfied," Chief Inspector Scott Small of the Philadelphia Police said.
Police say Cross reached into his pockets and handed more money over, but this time he'd put up a fight.
A struggle then ensued and Cross pulled out his firearm and shot the suspected robber one time in the head.
Cross immediately called 911, reporting he'd just shot an armed robber.
His son did not witness the shooting.
He was in a backroom playing video games, but heard the single shot.
Police took him and his father in for questioning.
The family says the boy is doing well.
Friends have now turned their thoughts to his father.
Meanwhile, the suspect, whose name has not been released, is in extremely critical condition.