Antonio Smith was a 9-year old who had the misfortune of growing up in the middle of the violence on the South side of Chicago. His life was ended far too soon in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood, where he was shot in the chest multiple times.
Smith was headed to the third grade and his family is making a public plea to the killer, who is still on the loose after this heinous crime.
“He was just a child, just a baby, still had a whole life ahead of him. And like, why? Just a child,” said Kenya Eggleston, his cousin.
The young man was shot at 4 pm on Wednesday. One of the neighbors heard what happened, but didn’t know he was hearing gunshots.
“At first I didn’t know if they were really shots or not. I just heard pop, pop, pop, pop, pow. So I just kept doing what I was doing,” said Dave West, the neighbor.
“It hurts my heart, really, to see the young kids just, just killing each other. And school is getting ready to start,” said Robert Blake, another neighbor.
The boy was in the backyard of an apartment building that wasn’t his. Police don’t know why he was there.
“We don’t know what happened. We don’t know if he was running from someone. This is a dead end alley. So he had to be running from somebody trying to go up on the tracks and cross over,” said Ashiea Smith, who has relatives who live in the building.
Police are searching the area to try to find the killer. The boy was rushed to the Comer Children’s Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
“I just want whoever did this to turn themself in because he was a 9-year-old innocent baby. He didn’t deserve that,” said Rasheda Eggleston, the boy’s cousin.
Chicago has received a great deal of attention for the large number of killings in the city. Most of the deaths impact young black males. This comes at a sensitive time, as thousands are now in Ferguson, Missouri protesting the police killing of another young black man, Michael Brown.