WHEN THE LINE HAS BEEN CROSSED
PRESS RELEASE & NEWS CONFERENCE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Herman Nelson
August 17th, 2015 Antonio’s Response Committee
Killed at 9 years old – A community response birthed on the anniversary of Antonio Smith's violent death
One year ago, on a sunny afternoon on August 20th, 2014, a nine-year-old boy had a dispute with a sibling over a cupcake and sprinted out the door of his Chicago home.
Less than an hour later, only a few blocks from his home, Antonio Smith had been fatally shot, reportedly the youngest victim of street gang violence that year. Some thought he might have been heading toward his grandfather's house, just a block away on the other side of the railroad tracks.
Within a month, in a triumph of police work and help from outraged residents of the Greater Grand Crossing community, four suspects had been identified and charged with first-degree murder. Police said the reputed gang members had been looking to shoot members of a rival Gangster Disciples faction in the 1200 block of East 71st Street and, thinking that Antonio was about to warn the local gang members, shot him instead.
But, concerned that more needed to be done to involve the community in preventing such crimes and supporting the victims when they occur, a group of community leaders (working with Mayor Ralm Emanuel and Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwickle Mid-South C.A.R.E. Collaborative) formed Antonio's Response.
Envisioned as an Amber Alert, followed by community action on multiple fronts, Antonio's Response begins with a nine-day program of community involvement and support for the victim's family and concludes with participation in the criminal justice process, until the case is resolved.
Want to know more about our vision? A news conference will be held August 20th, 2015, the anniversary of Antonio Smith's death, to introduce Antonio's Response and what we hope to accomplish. (Attachment with details will follow.) The news conference will be held at the home of his grandfather, 1321 E. 71st Place (west of Stony Island Avenue and south of 71st Street). A candlelight vigil will follow at 7 p.m., at the same location.