Seemingly every inch of the young man’s visible skin was taken over by tattoos; patterns were shaved in to his head. The young man, who was standing on the steps outside of Grace’s Funeral Home, was obviously known to many of the other equally sombre young men.
He seemed at a loss, wracked with anger and grief. That was the mood of many of the young men who showed up to funeralize 1-year-old Antiq Hennis, who was gunned down by reckless gunfire on Sept. 1. He was sitting in his stroller, being pushed by his father, known gangbanger Anthony Hennis, 21, whose jacket has 23 arrests, and his recently graduated honor roll mom, Cherise Miller, 19.
The atmosphere was tense. Almost luckily, the shooter, Daquan Breland, 23, and his accomplice Daquan Wright, 19, had been caught by authorities hiding out in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., early Friday morning, so that alleviated just a little bit of the underlying tension at the packed funeral that afternoon.
Folks were infuriated by the fact that self-proclaimed “super gangbanger” Hennis refused to identify the shooter, with whom he had a longstanding conflict. Both people on the street and investigators are saying that the shooting was in retaliation for a drive-by shooting last year.
Reportedly, Hennis had been involved in a drive-by shooting in 2012, in which several people were injured, including the brother of Wright, who allegedly handed Breland the weapon.
Community affairs cops told the AmNews that members of the community gave up the names with a rare frequency.
“On this case right here, where a baby was murdered, people were calling us, giving up the names,” said one of the community affairs officers outside the funeral home on Friday.
According to officer Sophia Tassymason, “At approximately 1919 hours [on Sept. 1], police responded to a person shot at 352 Bristol St., within the confines of the 73rd Precinct. Upon arrival, they observed a male Black with a gunshot wound to the left side of his head. EMS responded to the scene and transported him to Brookdale Hospital, where he was pronounced DOA.”
Leah Gunn Barrett, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, said, “Last month, Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg confirmed that 90 percent of crime guns recovered on New York City streets come from states with weak gun laws. This is not just a statistic—New Yorkers are dying as a result. When those New Yorkers include a 1-year-old infant, we should not only take notice, but take action.
Said Barrett, “It’s outrageous that the Senate rejected background checks and an anti-gun trafficking bill last April, both of which would have cut down on the flow of illegal guns into our communities. All Americans must demand that Congress stop pandering to the gun lobby and start doing its job to protect our children from this senseless and entirely preventable level of gun violence.
“The shooting death last night of a 1-year-old baby in a stroller on a Brooklyn street is shocking and barbaric. When babies are senselessly slaughtered in their strollers, it is a sure sign that there is something terribly wrong with our society. Although few details are known at this point, it would not be a surprise if the shooter were found to have used an illegal gun.”
“There were many brutally vicious acts in history that became catalysts for significant social, political, and economic change,” said the Rev. Herbert Daughtry, who was one of the hundred or so Black men who marched through Brownsville with state Sen. Eric Adams on Sunday to symbolically take back the streets.
Daughtry declared, “I know I am the eternal optimist. I learned from Bishop Desmond Tutu to be addicted to hope. There are those who say that it was the vicious killing of 15-year-old Emmet Till which helped to usher in the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which initiated the Civil Rights Movement.”
“This is the quiet before the storm, but we are trying to keep it calm,” said Brownsville activist Danny Goodine. “We are meeting with the young men to organize events and discussions to say why everything should remain calm and how we can make that happen.”