Mother of 1-year-old boy killed in Brooklyn speaks out

September 3, 2013 8:36:40 PM PDT
The search continues for a gunman who shot and killed a 1-year-old child in his stroller in Brooklyn.

The boy's mother is also speaking out to Eyewitness News.

The shooting happened at the Marcus Garvey complex in Brownsville on Sunday evening, and the search has been swift since Antiq Hennis was killed.

Anthony Hennis, 21, had just gone to pick up Antiq at the home of the baby's mother, 19-year-old Cherisse Miller, and take him to visit Hennis' grandmother, police said.

"My next door neighbor told me that they were shooting, so I ran outside. I didn't have nothing on my feet. I felt it," Miller said.

A mother's instinct kicks in the moment something happens to her child. Miller described the emptiness that filled her when she her 1 year old son had been murdered.

"When I got there. I seen the stroller. I seen my baby's father jumping up and down. I just couldn't go across the street. I was on the opposite side, I couldn't look at the stroller," she said.

The stroller sat in the middle of the street near the intersection of Bristol and Lavonia in Brownsville on Sunday evening after the police say the gunman was aiming for the child's father.

Hennis made it clear he was not ready to talk about any of it.

Anthony Hennis hadn't been cooperating with police, in part because he is a known gang member with 20 prior arrests, but now that has changed according to police.

"They keep hitting targets that have nothing to do with their beefs," community activist Tony Herbert said.

With the shooter still at large, Kings County District Attorney Charle Hynes met with the father's family Tuesday morning.

"My baby was innocent," Miller said. "My baby's father, it's not his fault. It's just a lot. I don't know what to say right now. I just want to say thank you, and I wish my son was still here."

The memorial grew outside of the mother's apartment with the name Antiq spelled out on the sidewalk. It's a name that had a lot of meaning for this 19 year old mother.

"He was my first and he would have been my oldest, if I were to have another kid. I just thought he was going to be here and he was going to be worth so much," Miller said.

Other family members are distraught, trying to deal with the grief and agony of losing a child.

Antiq's great grandmother described him as being joyous, loving to hug and kiss his parents and having a fondness for French fries. Now, his family is planning his funeral.

Authorities say they have the street name of the shooter, and community leaders and police are urging him to surrender. Sources say he has served time in jail and may have been recently released from prison.

Meantime, there's a $24,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, but residents say the unrelenting fear and a culture of no snitching makes it feel impossible to protect their children.

Brownsville residents are tired of the constant ring of gunfire, and fed up with burying innocent children.

"We leave our kids and try to go out and make a dollar and at the end of the day you may get a phone call at the job saying hey a bullet just come through the window and it hit your child. The neighborhood is just not safe," said Gregory Vasante, a resident.

Antiq is the 16th child under 16 shot in New York City since May and the second to die.