*The relatives of Chicago’s youngest victim of a fatal shooting is reaching out to the community for answers on who killed their son. On Wednesday, 9-year-old Antonio Smith was said to be playing close to the alley in the Greater Grand Crossing area of south Chicago, when he was shot in the chest. No one knows why he was in that particular location because he didn’t live there. He was shot at least four times and fell in a backyard on the South Side. Antonio’s relatives have now made a plea to the shooter, who still remains at large.
“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, victim’s cousin.
Smith was shot around 4 p.m. on Wednesday in the 1200-block of East 71st Street. And neighbors who spoke with ABC7 seemed both dazed and confused in recounting the story.
“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, a 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, neighbor.
And in a most disturbing account, witness Ashiea Smith said, “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.” Smith’s relatives live in one of the buildings near the alley.
Though evidence was sought by forensic investigators and police dogs who combed the neighborhood, there is no news of their findings at this time.
“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, Antonio’s cousin.
Pallbearers carry the body of Antonio Smith, a 9-year-old boy who was shot and killed earlier this month, to his burial site at Pallbearers carry the casket of 9-year-old Antonio Smith to Mount Hope Cemetery following his funeral at Calahan Funeral Home, in Chicago. Funeral for Antonio Smith
Amongst the sad and devastated mourners are those who find themselves downright angry. And some of that anger is targeted at those who continue to protest in Ferguson – yet have shown no interest in this child’s murder.
Chicago Tribune writer John Kass had some strong words for them.”I didn’t see protesters waving their hands in the air for network TV cameras. I didn’t see the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson playing their usual roles in the political race card game.“I didn’t see white college anarchists hiding behind their white plastic Guy Fawkes masks talking about being oppressed by the state. I didn’t see politicians equivocating. But the worst thing I didn’t see was this:“I didn’t see the theatrical outrage that you see in Ferguson, Mo. A white cop in Ferguson—a place most people never heard of just two weeks ago—shoots a black teenager and the nation knows what to do. The actors scream their roles on cue.
“But in Chicago, a black child is assassinated, and Attorney General Eric Holder isn’t on his way here. There are no hashtag campaigns saying #saveourboys. And instead of loud anger, there is numb silence.”
“We have to be absolutely outraged. And we have to say, ‘We’re going to find out who you are, and we’re going to turn you in because you’re not going to get by with this. You can’t kill a 9-year-old kid and go home and eat McDonald’s and watch TV,'” says mourner Dorothy Woods, as she wiped away tears from the face of her niece.
Cynthia Smith-Thigpen, a retired Chicago Public Schools teacher, talked about the lack of public outrage.
“There’s shamelessness to the silence over this boy’s death,” she said. “It’s like, ‘Oh, another child dead in Chicago.’ Perhaps we’re all numb to what goes on in this city.”
Watch the ABC7 video report here.