Editor’s Notice: This story is a part of a sequence profiling American youth killed this yr by weapons, a number one reason behind loss of life of kids within the US. Learn extra in regards to the mission right here.
Even on his most tiring Sundays, after a full day of working in sanitation, Anthony Alexander Sr. by no means missed a chance to take his namesake for a prepare journey on Philadelphia’s Regional Rail.
Anthony Alexander Jr.’s love for locomotives carried him by his youth, offering core recollections between father and son, who knew each trolley and bus route in Philadelphia on the ripe age of 4.
Now, trains are how Anthony Jr.’s mother and father and 7 siblings bear in mind him each day as they put on chains adorned with silver prepare pendants produced from his ashes.
And of their front room – the place Anthony Jr. would sit and eat popcorn whereas watching motion pictures or the native information throughout a storm – sits a aspect desk that serves as a ultimate resting place for his remaining ashes, held in a cherry-colored wood urn topped with a duplicate matte silver prepare.
This teen saved 3 children from drowning. A taking pictures lower his personal life quick
The 17-year-old was shot and killed January 29 by a 16-year-old in Higher Darby, close to Philadelphia, police mentioned. Anthony Jr. had been at a Philadelphia Eagles playoff watch get together, his mother and father mentioned. The shooter informed police the gun unintentionally went off whereas being handed round throughout an Instagram stay stream, CNN affiliate WPVI reported, although Anthony Jr.’s mother and father say they don’t consider any such stay stream encounter even occurred.
The subsequent day, the suspect surrendered on third-degree homicide, involuntary manslaughter, weapons and different associated prices, police mentioned. He was charged as an grownup and bail set, they mentioned. CNN has reached out to Higher Darby Police for extra info.
Anthony Jr.’s mother and father nonetheless don’t know the connection between their baby and the suspect, if any. And so they notice they might by no means know all that led as much as the loss of life of their son – now amongst greater than 1,300 kids and youths killed by a gun in 2023 within the US, based on the Gun Violence Archive, as firearms surpassed motor automobiles in 2020 because the No. 1 killer of kids and youths in America.
“This, in any respect, just isn’t value it,” Anthony Sr. mentioned, “And I simply don’t perceive. We misplaced a son. The person who (shot Anthony Jr.), … their mother and father misplaced a son. So, that’s two lives gone for nothing. Why?”
Nonetheless, Ava Alexander – Anthony Jr.’s stepmother – and Anthony Sr. say they will really feel their late son’s presence and his spirit guiding them every single day as they move from room to room of their house.
It’s these recollections – their baby serving to Anthony Sr. transfer round the home as he battled a number of myeloma final yr, Taco Tuesdays collectively within the eating room, New 12 months’s Eves with all of the siblings allowed to remain up late and graze on Alexander’s lovingly ready unfold – that cease the couple from promoting the house.
Extra about Anthony Alexander Jr.
Anthony Jr. introduced everybody collectively together with his humor, his household says. He was a peacemaker who fostered a particular relationship with everybody he got here in touch with – even strangers, as he confirmed when he helped rescue three kids from an icy pond in Higher Darby in February 2022. Anthony Jr. was named a Congressional Medal of Honor Society 2023 Younger Hero Awardee for his bravery that day, an accomplishment Ava and Anthony Sr. name a testomony to his caring nature.
“He was only one in one million,” Ava mentioned.
He was the kind of man who might fill any awkward silence with hours of dialog, switching from subject to subject at a second’s discover, mentioned one among his older sisters, Courtney Tyler. The final time they spoke, Anthony Jr. had requested Tyler’s opinion on skincare – a frequent subject they’d bond over.
“Anthony was certainly my favourite,” she mentioned. “He was identical to a little bit deer simply on the earth, not even actually understanding the world however simply joyful to be right here.”
Anthony Jr. was additionally her toddler’s favourite uncle.
The baby “all the time asks about Anthony, even now, to at the present time: The place is Anthony? The place is Anthony, Mommy?”
“Oh, he’s in heaven now,” she tells him. “I’m sorry.”
Anthony Jr.’s eldest brother by seven years, Davir Tyler, remembers feeling his youngest brother kick from inside their mom’s stomach and pondering their mother was taking part in a prank on him – solely to search out out it was Anthony Jr. saying hi there.
Learn different profiles of kids who’ve died from gunfireplace
“He was probably the most cutest child ever: all the time smiling, these big-ol’ marble eyes, that extensive, toothless smile,” mentioned Tyler, who “simply needed him to be joyful, wholesome, constructive and safe.”
With an uncle who’s a firefighter and an older sister who served within the Marines, Anthony Jr. had plans to comply with go well with in comparable traces of service, his mother and father mentioned. His pursuits stretched far and extensive as he tried his hand at soccer, basketball, karate and swimming – even encouraging others in his life to let him give them classes.
“He by no means appreciated to see individuals unhappy,” Courtney Tyler mentioned. “He was all the time attempting to raise individuals up and be joyful.”
On September 8, Anthony Jr. would have celebrated his 18th birthday and been given a automobile Anthony Sr. had reserved for him, simply as he’d accomplished for his different kids. As an alternative, his household and buddies launched balloons in his honor, and the 2008 BMW stays in his grandmother’s driveway.
To honor “a life unfinished,” as they are saying, family members are working to ascertain a basis and revamp a group heart in Anthony Jr.’s identify. And the native authorities will set up a bench on the pond in Collingdale the place he rescued the three kids, his mother and father mentioned.
The Alexander household additionally plans to rebuild and show one among Anthony Jr.’s favourite toys – an in depth Lego prepare set. One block at a time, they are going to recreate it simply how their son did, as additionally they attempt to piece collectively their lives with a lacking block of their coronary heart.