Antiq Hennis, a 1-year-old child, was being pushed in a stroller by his father, Anthony Hennis, 22, in Brownsville, Brooklyn, at 7:20 p.m. on Sunday, September 1, when a gunman attacked the father and son. The man shot the baby in the head, killing him, reports CBS New York.
Here’s what you need to know about this unimaginable tragedy…
1. They Were Coming Home From Grandma’s House
His father was returning from the boy’s grandmother’s home when the attack happened. They were crossing the street at Bristol Street and Livonia Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The boy was rushed to Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at around 9 p.m.
One witness, Cynthia Ballantyne, told CBS New York:
It was a child. I couldn’t watch that. I just get real sad; depressed, and I just came back here. It’s awful to be killing kids like that – you understand? It’s not safe anywhere. I’m scared to walk the streets right now.
Another, Orlando Joseph, said:
I was in the backyard when I heard the shots. It was like four shots — one after the next – bang, bang bang, bang. It was shocking — you think it was a guy or a lady got shot — not a kid. I think it’s pretty messed up.
2. His Death Has Sparked Outrage in the Community
Outraged community activists across New York City have pleaded to the gunman to come forward to atone for his crime. One local activist, Tony Herbert, told reporters:
They’re making phone calls right, and that shooter guaranteed your name has been picked up at the Police Department, so turn yourself in.
Another man, Willie Billips, added:
An innocent baby slaughtered in the streets of Brownsville – something has to change here. It’s horrible, a young mother and father hurting badly baby — they lost a 1-year-old child. The mother is hurting. No more babies. No more people. We’ve got to turn this around.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg also spoke about the tragedy:
This is a tragedy for his parents, the family, for the entire community and for this entire city. Every child in our city is precious, and every child deserves our protection. And when a child dies, we all suffer, and we all grieve.
As of September 3, it’s reported that locals in the area were going door-to-door looking for more witnesses.
3. It Might Be a Gang Hit
The Daily News reports that it’s possible a local Crips/Bloods rivalry is responsible. Anthony Hennis is reportedly a high-ranking Crips member.
Initial reports indicated that boy’s father was the intended target of the shooting, then reports moved on to say it was about the father’s brother. It’s further reported that Anthony Hennis has a “lengthy arrest record.” NBC New York reports that his convictions are largely for drug and weapons charges.
Locals reportedly know who the shooter is.
Community activist Tony Herbert said:
It’s an old beef. Something that was being resolved — a dispute between the shooter’s brother and the target. What it’s about? We don’t know. But quite frankly to shoot anybody in God’s world is stupidity.
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4. The Boy’s Mother Cherise Miller is ‘Paralyzed by the Pain’
According to NBC New York, Hennis’ mother, Cherise Miller, is too grief-stricken to move from her apartment. Lenore Steele, the boy’s great-grandmother, said: “He was such a beautiful little baby, smiling and talking with everybody.” Another friend, Shirley Jones-Baisden, who was present with Cherise Miller when she got the news that her son was dead said:
I was at the hospital with them last night. I was in the room with her when she got the news. This is not easy.
Miller later told The Daily News about her last memories of Hennis:
I went in my mother’s room and he’s jumping on the bed, laughing, I didn’t yell at him. I was just sitting there. I just sat and I watched him.
5. The Boy’s Parents Have Met With the DA
After police commissioner initially told reporters that Anthony Hennis was not co-operating with police, it’s now reported that District Attorney Charles Hynes visited the boy’s home on September 3. While he was there he spoke to both parents. He told reporters:
We’re on top of this. That’s all I can tell you … I tried to console them. It’s very, very difficult in these circumstances.
It was also announced on September 3 that the reward for information on the shooter was raised from $12,000 to $22,000.