The following story is a prime example of what can happen when we act in anger. Immaturity played a part in the outcome of this tragedy. But whether they were 9, 19, or 90, simply thinking about or considering the consequences of their actions could have been saved them.
Nine-year-old Antonio Smith stormed out of his family’s apartment on Chicago’s South Side in a fit of anger when his mother refused to get him a cupcake on a hot summer day in August.
When he left his parent's apartment he encountered a group of men driving around in two vehicles in search of rival gang members. When they reached the back yard of a home, one of the men saw Antonio, believed he was warning the rivals, and he began firing, hitting the boy several times in the back and side, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy told reporters.
The alleged teenage shooter, Derrick Allmon, 19, was about 10 feet away from Antonio when the fatal shots were fired, the report says. The teen reportedly tossed the gun into a nearby sewer and ran away.
“This didn’t have to happen,” McCarthy said as he announced charges in Antonio’s death.
Besides Allmon, three others were charged with first-degree murder in the Aug. 20 shooting: Jabari Williams, 22; Michael Baker, 19; and Paris Denard, 19.
McCarthy told reporters that Allmon had been released from prison in early August after serving 18 months for possession of a loaded weapon. Corrections officials said Allmon served 21 months, the paper says.
“Unfortunately this tragic murder is yet one more example of the strife being caused by gangs and guns in our community,” McCarthy said. “But the real kicker to this entire case is that it didn’t have to happen. He should not have been on the street to commit this murder.”
Had Derrick Allmon not decided to open fire on a child that he perceived to be his enemy Antonio Smith would still be alive today. Had Antonio Smith not stormed out of his parents house in a fit of rage over a cupcake, he would not put himself in the line of fire.
With that being said, ultimately, the criminal justice system failed both of these young men. The one who was murdered, and the one who was not sufficiently made to pay for his crime in the past.