Baby Shot In Stroller Deserves Justice—But the RIGHT Killer Must Be Punished

First, let me say this about the animal(s) responsible for the death of Antonio Santiago, the 13-month-old baby shot in his stroller last week during a street mugging in Brunswick, Georgia. My heart aches for that beautiful child. I am absolutely repulsed by charges that two teenagers shot little Antonio in the face after his mother, Sherry West, told them she had no money to give them. And I promise you this: I want the people who were so callous, so depraved, so inhuman, to shoot a baby between his eyes to get every… last… thing… they… have… coming… to… them. All of it and then some.

Brunswick, GA, police are certainly wasting no time in making sure somebody pays: within a day of the Thursday shooting, they rounded up two teenagers suspected in baby Antonio’s shooting—17-year-old De’Marquis Elkins and an unidentified 15-year-old and, by yesterday, the two of them were in court, facing charges for allegedly shooting the mother in her ear and leg in broad daylight before turning the gun on the baby. Reports say police used school absentee records to narrow down the suspects, and then West identified Elkins out of a photo line-up presented to her by the cops.

West, who lost an 18-year-old son to violence when he was stabbed to death in a fight in New Jersey in 2008, wants blood. “I hate you and I don’t forgive you,” she told CNN when asked about the person who allegedly shot her son. “You killed an innocent human life. I hope you die for it.”

Indeed, she has that right. I am no fan of the death penalty, but God knows as a mother of daughters whom I would lay down on train tracks for, I understand both her anguish and her thirst for justice. For blood.

Still, at the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I got questions. Like, how is it that West is the sole eyewitness to the shooting—in broad daylight in a residential neighborhood? I mean, plenty of people heard the shots, but no one saw Negroes fleeing down the bucolic streets? Where is the gun? Did the police run ballistics on the trajectory of the bullets that grazed West’s ear and hit her leg to see if they weren’t self-inflicted? Did they test West’s hands for gunpowder residue? Anybody wondering why De’Marquis’s aunt is absolutely insistent that her nephew and his friend were at her house having eggs and grits and, later, running errands when West and her child were attacked? Or why the shooter would kill the baby but leave West, an adult eyewitness who can testify against him, breathing? Is there any chance that West might have the wrong kids?

And did anyone perform an autopsy on baby Antonio to see if he suffered any other injuries besides the gun wound? Of if he actually died of a gunshot wound? Is anyone at all curious about why the baby was cremated the very next day after the incident occurred? Or why when reporters showed up to interview West on Saturday—just two days after her child allegedly died of gunshot wounds—she had all of her baby’s clothes, toys and diapers in plastic bags, ready for donation? Of why she was so full of vivid details and so willing to talk about her son’s death to so many reporters so quickly after her son was killed and cremated?

Have I been watching too many Law & Order episodes?

Maybe. But it’s hard to give the benefit of the doubt to Ms. West’s story when the kids she accused of killing her baby—both black boys—were facing judges on the 80th anniversary of the arrest of The Scottsboro Boys, nine African-American youths who were accused, charged and found guilty of raping two white women on a freight train in 1931. That case went down in the history books as a frame-up of epic proportions, replete with three rushed trials, an attempted lynching, angry mobs, sentences for nine of the 13 accused, one pardon and a legacy as the case that put an end to all-white juries in the South.

The case of Antonio Santiago also comes just a few months after the debut of The Central Park Five, a documentary about the railroading of five black teenage boys—Raymond Santana, Korey Wise, Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson and Antron McCray, then ages 14 to 16—in the infamous 1989 Central Park Jogger rape. The boys confessed under coercion and severe public pressure (at some point, Donald Trump took out four ads in local NYC newspapers calling for the boys to get the death penalty) and were convicted and served sentences ranging between five and 11 years—into their adult lives. But later, all five were exonerated and had their records wiped clean (after they’d already served their sentences) when convicted murderer and rapist Mathias Reyes confessed to the jogger’s brutal rape.

Y’all do remember Susan Smith, right? And Bonnie Sweeten? And Bethanny Storro? All of them, along with women in the tragic Rosewood Riots and countless other cases have one thing in common: white women who blamed their crimes on black men.

George Zimmerman’s wacky brother, Robert Zimmerman, Jr., isn’t helping to allay doubts at all, either, with his racist tweets comparing a picture of Trayvon Martin sticking up his middle fingers with one of De’Marquis Elkins, an accused killer, striking the same pose, and asking whether “what these2 black teens did 2 a woman&baby is the reason ppl think blacks mightB risky.”

*Side-effing-note: What kind of backward, punk ass, racist buffoon do you have to be to repeatedly insist that your brother is not a racist and did not racially profile, confront and murder an African-American child for no other reason than the color of his skin, only to take to Twitter to claim that people think all “blacks” are “risky” because some black people somewhere commit crimes? Isn’t this the very definition of profiling? Newsflash: We “blacks” prefer to be judged on what we do individually, not on what people who happen to have our same skin color may have done. And, oh: black teens aren’t the only fools who take pictures of themselves sticking up their middle fingers. I’m pretty sure that in the history of pictures of teens sticking up their middle fingers, you’ll find a collection of—gasp!—white kids in similar poses. My guess is that 99.9 percent of them, while idiots, are probably not criminals. Get a clue, jerk. Or better yet, keep talking; I’m sure the prosecution and Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the Martin family, are taking copious notes on the mindset of the Zimmerman family. *End side-effing-note.*

Of course, my questions may be nothing more than fodder for the defense attorneys in the case of two teenagers accused of shooting a baby in his stroller, or the underpinning of a really bad Lifetime “ripped from the headlines” movie. Or perhaps these questions might be valid ones wrapped in historic precedence that has seen one too many miscarriages of justice meted out against black boys for no other reason than that a white woman pointed her finger and a black boy was at the end of it.

At any rate, I end this post with the same thoughts I used to open it: I want the people who we so callous, so depraved, so inhuman, to shoot a baby in his stroller to get every… last… thing… they… have… coming… to… them. All of it and then some. But God, please let them be the right people to be punished. Not just any ol’ body.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. I thought the same thing as soon as I heard details of this case. Makes no sense that 2 kids would attempt to rob a women in broad daylight on a residential street and shoot a baby in a stroller. I live in SC and we have never forgotten the Susan Smith incident. We knew immediately that she was a murdering liar.

  2. Very unsettling indeed. I have not followed this case. This is very sad, as I assume this aunt may not have the money needed to adequately defend them. You should send this article to the innocence project. Maybe they can help prevent a tragedy if they are not guilty. Sounds fishy.

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      Oh damn. Even Sherry West’s own daughter is questioning the veracity of her mother’s story? Wow. Just… wow.

  3. I went to middle school and high school in Brunswick, GA, and I know first hand the racial animosity that persists between whites and blacks in that city. This is just adding fuel to the fire, so much so that I haven’t even talk to my friends who still live in Brunswick about this case because I don’t want to have to go off on them and remind them of all the privileges their white skin affords them and how whites can go around performing every crime imaginable and not represent the totality of whiteness, but if one black person does something stupid, they represent every black person on the planet. As the mother of a 13 month old myself, I cannot imagine the pain and anguish losing your baby can cause. BUT, we can’t ignore the history of false accusations that permeate our culture and how easy it is for white women to blame black men for the crimes they commit themselves.

  4. Completely agree. You should consider changing the ‘but’ in your title to ‘and’ because those two statements go hand in hand.

  5. I agree. But I too love Law and Order! Why wouldn’t a mother who is faced with the death of her child and herself not just give up her purse?!!! Where is the gun? So many questions…not enough answers.

  6. It seems extremely suspicious, she is moving, donating his things immediately and looking to get an insurance check right away. She’s looking down in interviews and forcing sobs with no tears. Her own daughter that she lost custody of (she never mentioned her other child before) says that her mother is acting very strange and she isn’t buying her story. The fact that she said it was a teen boy and a possible 5-10 year old initially is really strange, considering the second suspect picked up is 15 and she then quickly agreed it must be him. I’m not saying the boys are wholesome kids, because it sounds like they’ve been in a little trouble around town before, but I feel like that is also what also makes everyone so quick to blame them, because it’s easy to blame struggling kids. I just don’t think they did something like that, it sounds like they may not have even met each other before. Your instincts are right, something is really off about this story.

    • “Yes, I was there, but it wasn’t me — it was the other kid who shot the baby.” This is what the younger boy will say who is facing murder charges on no evidence whatsoever. And his mother will back him up. This is how the cops will build their case against the older boy, whose alibi they dismissed, because after all, his “aunt is lying to protect him”. Both boys were picked out of a line-up of 24 truant teenagers by a woman who originally described them both as small children. Interesting how these “little boys” keep getting older and bigger.

  7. No shell casings were found, despite four shots (according to her) being fired. The media is having a field day with her claim that her older son was taken from her violently, the victim of a street crime in New Jersey. You will hear this in every news report and every interview. (last night it was Piers Morgan). What you won’t hear is the real story : Her own teenage son attempted to ambush another teen with a steak knife, The intended victim managed to get the weapon away from Ms. West’s son and stabbed him in self-defense. And yes, it was ruled self-defense. West believes these two boys may have been acting to avenge her son’s death, since a young crack-addicted girl from the old NJ neighborhood now lives next door in Georgia, and she hangs out with these two “African-American children.”. You can’t make this stuff up. Oh, wait ….


    Classic case of “Don’t Snitch” and the “Culture of Violence” we have in America. Hopefully comunities will begin to address these cultural issues.

  9. I dont know what happened but what bothered me is that the young man accused addressed the judge no sir. That doesnt prove anything but what struck me is i know kids and unless hes really a liar and a problem no rebellious teen says yes sir to any authority figure. That bugged me. Again i dont know what happened

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      Addressing grownups and people of authority as “sir” and “ma’am” is standard for children here in GA—no matter how good or bad they are.

  10. Is it me or do I feel undertones going on in this thread. What is hard to believe? These two “Children” were brought up in a home were it is encouraged to lie to police and to gain self esteem through initmidation and acts of violence. It has obviously been engrained in them at a very young age. People this is not a Race issue…this is a Cultural issue going on here. These children are being brought up in homes that encourage fighting and lying to police. There are deeper issues going on besides race. These young men need discipline, a role model..perhaps a father. Not sure I’ve heard much about the father..

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby


      Thanks for your comment. Can you share a link to stories that show these two kids were raised in homes where they were encouraged to lie to and fight the police? Or anything specific about their backgrounds? Just wondering where you got all this information from?

      • We know nothing about the boys’ family background, but we know that Ms. West lost custody of her daughter when she was eight, and the daughter has publicly gone on record as doubting her mother’s story. We do know that Ms. West’s son was killed when he ambushed another teenager, who stabbed him with his own weapon. We do know that Ms. West asked her daughter the day of her baby’s shooting how long it would be before she received the life insurance money. If anyone deserves to be “profiled”, it would seem to be the mother, and possibly her husband, who have already to gained national attention, public sympathy, and are about to be enriched by an
        insurance payout.

  11. Hey Denene- Here you go:
    The mother and aunt of a teenage suspect in the fatal shooting of a baby in Brunswick were arrested Tuesday on charges that they lied to authorities…(If parents are doing it, then kids are certainly following suit).
    When I’m speaking about the “Culture of Violence” which I am very familiar with in Growing up in Decatur, GA. I’m merely discussing the culture of lying to police “Stop Snitching” movement, and the “Culture of Violence” To be fair- I know absolutely nothing about these kids, but if you’re real w yourself you know what the deal is…

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      Thanks for the link, Kevin. For some reason, my computer refuses to “read” AJC. Weird. But I did read a similar story on a news website out of Savannah, and posted it on the MBB Facebook feed so that our readers could be up to date. Here is what I said in the accompanying message, because I think it’s important that you understand where I’m coming from here:

      Update on the case: the older suspect’s aunt and mother were arrested and charged with felonies for allegedly lying to police about the teen’s whereabouts. This report also says the women gave statements that led police to a pond where cops found a handgun; it’s being tested to see if it was used in the shooting. Again: if these boys are responsible, they get what’s coming to them. I’m simply asking that an INVESTIGATION take place, and that those who actually committed the murder be punished for it. This is absolutely horrific.

      Yes, the culture of “no snitching” is a beast and one that most certainly needs to be addressed. But I’m not sure that applies in this case just yet. IF the mother and aunt lied—neither an arrest nor an accusation means guilt, which is the underlying thread in the post and in this comment thread—then I’d assume they were doing it to protect their loved one. If this is the case, then they should be punished for that.

      But I feel like I need to be very clear about your “if you’re real with yourself, you know what the deal is…” comment. I’m always “real” with myself. And a huge part of my reality is that I don’t judge others based on skin color, finances, etc., and I most certainly do not use stereotypes to rule the way I feel about black boys and men. I’m married to one. The mother of one. The daughter of one. The sister of one. The friend of many. And I would absolutely HATE IT if someone said to me that the color of their skin dictates that they fully embrace violence and lying in their everyday lives. Because that is absolutely NOT the case.

      • Hey Denene- Completely agree and understand where you are coming from, and in no way do I think this is an across the board issue in the Black community. I have many many close black friends who have COMPLETE families and who raise there kids to be hard working, courtious, gentle, loving and caring individuals. This is absolutley why I do not want to discuss race, but culture. I’m not sure about you, but i’ve been in public schools in areas where there is definitely a “culture of violence” and a “dont snitch” or get your ass beat environment. If kids are growing up in this and parents feed into it, and the community applauds it…its an issue. Thats what I really want to discuss. Thanks for the response, and letting me in on where your coming from.

  12. In making my comments, I only want to draw away from Race, but address the Culture. I believe that is the real culpret with alot of issues that go on today in our society. And please don’t get me wrong this culture goes through different races, it is not specific to just one. Although, I do believe it is hurting the Black community the most. Thanks for harboring a discussion type atmosphere Denene 🙂 I’m enjoying the topic

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      Thanks for your comments, Kevin—I like the way your mind works. And I’m delighted to host a place where this kind of discussion can take place.

      Let me ask you this: when we talk about the “culture” of “no snitching” and violence, would you agree that all-too-many equate that with race?

      • I would agree with that. I think it is definitely equated to race because race gets headlines…ask Al Sharpton. I think the only way to address the issue is through good ol fashioned “im not going to get my feelings hurt easily and be defensive” converation. We don’t need to race bait and add more un needed tension. We need to address the these issues in our communities together. I also think that it would be great if white folks could do there homework too on this, and become educated and learn how to discuss the topic approriately. But I cant stess it enough, all Races commit these crimes…but this culture is applauding it.

  13. Found this one too:

    But it’s the accused killers who are to blame, neighbors said, and what makes it even harder to understand is their ages.

    At first, Anderson said, she was sad when she thought about “children killing children.” Then someone sent her a link to the suspect Elkin’s Facebook page (since taken down) on which he boasted, using a racial slur, that he and his friends would “turn your neighborhood into a murder scene.”

    “That infuriates me,” Anderson said. “How can he be so callous? How can you have a family of your own and be raised by a mother and have no regard for human life? He was looking for it. When he left with a gun, he had every intention of shooting somebody.”

  14. I found your blog looking for news on this horrific shooting. I too question it. Something doesn’t smell right. Ofcourse I than feel like a ass for thinking a mother could shoot her child, but how is that harder to believe than another older child shooting. I live in Oregon, and I’m reminded of my childhood, when Diane Downs shot her three children, killing one, wounding the other two and shooting herself in the arm. That night it came on the news I was shocked when my mom immediately said “she shot her kids”…it was simple to my mom, if someone approached aiming a gun at me, her dead body would be on top of me.

  15. I do think there is much to this case that is very odd…I think there will be a lot of info forthcoming. Already “a” gun has been found and the older boy has already been charged in a shooting case from 10 days prior. Even if the boys were there and even if they had a gun, the story still doesn’t make sense. It also doesn’t make sense that the baby was cremated so soon, that Ms West is planning on moving away…wouldn’t she want to stay for the trial..wouldn’t she need to stay for the trial to testify? I can think of several scenarios in which the boys might be involved, but not be guilty of the murder. Remember being a kid and your mother saying that BB guns can put your eye out? Even if she thought it was a “fake”–after he shot it she had to think it was something at least as powerful as a BB gun. In her original telling, it seems to me that she went to some detail to explain to the boys how expensive it was to have children and that all your money goes to providing for them…doesn’t anyone else find this odd? I also blame the reporters. They love to do their interviews and then they “voice over” their version and their comments. I’d like to see all those interviews without all the editing and voice overs. What if she were trying to “buy” the gun from the boys. The first shot into the ground might have been her testing it out. She might have shot herself…and forgive me for even thinking this…but she might have…I can’t even bring myself to write it, but you can see where I am going with this.

  16. As soon as I heard this story it just seemed odd to both me and my wife. What kind of a monster would shoot a baby? More so, what mother would cremate the body so soon? Would the police not want an autopsy done in the case of obvious murder? What about the other daughter talking about the mother and her question about life insurance? What mother would not be a complete mess in this situation? Don’t think these two boys are angels by any stretch, but it seems to me there much more going on here than we’ve heard.

  17. Vanessa Phillips

    I am glad to see I am not the only one who thought immediatley that this didn’t pass the smell test… i hope there is further investagation going on. I remember a detective telling my years ago that having someone in your family mysterously murdered is rare.. but extremely rare if it happens more than once and it usually turns out to be a family member.

  18. I agree with everyone asking questions. The statements of the mother do not add. Ms. Denene, being her statements are of one boy, if you go to Youtube, she is telling her stories, as they change. It was two boy’s that approached her or one? Her purse, she carried, she to say she had nothing, why not give it up? if this was what went down? she to repeat I do not have any money, money, she not having any “money” is a sensitive to her. She to repeat this as the reason her baby was shot. Then her adult daughter to speak with press and state her mother asked, how soon the life insurance check would come? Her baby was a hit? she had conned the boys? or someone else (associated) who conned the one older boy, if you do this, then you will receive a portion of the pay out? * Her to repeat, fake gun, a small gun, a BB gun,… her leg wound shown close up on YT, she sitting in her house. The outer skin is blue, slightly bruised, a small hole, like a BB gun. If she was shot at close range as she says, wouldn’t the damage be surface show, Red bruised purple, “trauma” not pale blue? She says’ Doc’s refused to remove the
    ” bullet”, or was it ??she refused treatment. Because as soon as that ” Bullet, BB” is out – off to forensics it will go. Something is up with that. If you shot yourself with a BB gun, no gun powder residue would be on your hands. She said it didn’t hurt, her leg went numb. She then took her walk, stroll with the sleeping baby, and her BB infused leg? part of her plot? She and baby’s father were tested for Gun powder, both came out clean. Interview, begins where she is speaking of her wound, the story telling. When someone adds unnecessary information, recalling a crime, it’s called story telling. It’s purposely derailing the listener. It creates distance from the person actually telling the story -as they fabricate, it keeps all attention off of them. This case isn’t over yet. I almost wonder if they arrested the older boy as a diversion, as they are watching her, and Law enforcement knows he is not safe on the street?

  19. To add, forgot, the (Three) 911 calls released by the press, you can listen to each call on this news site:

    The first caller is a male, he calls in as a witness to the shooting? or after the shooting commenced? or all is lost due to the reaction of the 911 operator. She not doing her job, not remaining calm, and not gathering information from the caller, as he is present at the scene. She to jump from calm to freaking out, she loses it. Where had the man, he had called in and gained a different operator, how much more would have been learned to what he did indeed witness. He up close and to what was going on.

    The 3rd operator to be calm, (call #3) and to control the incoming caller, attempting to gain all information from the female caller, who becomes hysterical (the caller does) – she too on the scene. Call #3 her words contradict the Mother’s story. She says she’s got him down, giving CPR, the 911 OP to repeat the caller to EMT’s in route, this the first seconds of the 911 call. The mother says different. She says she rolled the stroller away, with great detail (story telling) took him to an enclosure, away from everyone, unharnessed him, then attempted CPR. Both callers say they heard gun shots (3 shots), they did not witness the shooting. Neither say they witnessed anyone run from the scene.

    I read Mother said the baby was sleeping in the stroller, when this went down. The time, early, 9am, why would he be asleep? he to wake up that AM when? she never goes out, he 13mos old, (not an infant) this not her normal to go outside, her words. Who’s to say baby was alive during this stroll, that she didn’t do something to him first. That the con was on, the boys threatened in some way. Why were they not in school? they to be in the wrong place, wrong time? they set up? No one would believe a 17 yr old, either way? no matter what he says? none of this makes sense. If the baby was not alive as she left her house, and the shooting to be within mins -would it be determined by an autopsy? or there is no need for an autopsy? The calls incoming are telling, the commotion was centered on the victim, being the baby, not on who was doing what, at the scene – had there been a person running away, this being a neighborhood, would not one of the adult witnesses within seconds be on foot – chasing the person, even if they didn’t know if they were involved. Too many questions, not enough answers. Thank you for the discussion.

  20. A lot of excellent points were brought up in this article. Update: the daughter of the woman who said these two black teenagers shot her baby son, is now saying there is a chance her mother made up the story. The daughter is saying that her mom asked her how soon the life insurance policy is going to be paid out on her dead son. She also told her daughter two different versions. Her daughter said in version one, t hat her mom said that she was shot first. The second version is that the baby was shot first. In addition she says her mom has mental health problems and takes medications. She does not what she takes. In addition the article states that she lost another son to violence. The truth is that her teenage son was going to murder another teenager. Her teenage son had a knife on him and he along with some other kids attempted to stab some boy. The boy wrestled the knife out of her son’s hand and stabbed him with it killing him. The boy who killed her son was not charged because it was an obvious case of child abuse. And witness identification especially when you are the only witness is quite falabile.

  21. When I heard about this crime, I felt physically sick. I have a nine month old daughter,cand I just couldn’t imagine . . . I cried for this woman,
    Then I saw her being interviewed on to, just a day or two after the shooting. My husband and I looked at each other, jaws agape, thinking the same thing – how can she be so “put together?” Both of us would have been hysterical. I pray the police get this figured out soon,

  22. Guilty. There was another case some years ago about a mother who claimed her baby was taken by a dingo. What a load of rubbish !! no mother can loose a child and be so casual about it, or claim compensation, or move on as if nothing happened. I hope justice prevails.

  23. Well I have trouble with your comments. These are things we should be very careful with, especially opinions. There are all kinds of injustice in every part of the world. My great grandmother was Indian and had her first baby at 13. I didn’t grow up in a hate filled house hold. My father was given nothing, dirt poor. He is a self made millionaire. So my advice is this, our country will always be prejudice, it will never change. I, being from the south get a lot if racial slurs thrown at me. I’m the ” rich white girl”…. What a joke…please everyone if my family can drop color so should everyone else..people just need to let justice do what it does..which is usually not enough..take color out of the picture!!!!!!

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      Oh, sweet Crissy,

      I could write a dissertation on how clueless you are. Something tells me, though, that you would never understand. Or care to. So I’m so not going to bother. Thanks for visiting.

      • Well that is exactly the kind of reply I expected. I think that all evidence should be thoroughly. And everyone involved in telling even the smallest lie to protect someone should be held accountable. Yes writing a 500 page dissertation is extremely helpful. I’m so glad I was raised in the household I was raised in. Hate is not the answer and neither is race. Respect is important and professional.

  24. There are far too many unanswered questions here. Has the father of the baby been investigated at all? Could he have fired the shots from a window, hence the missing shell casings? In interviews, the mother does not come across as credible in the least. Plus, she disposes of her precious baby’s belongings immediately following his murder? My cat died and I cried over his collar for weeks, just saying….This case is very shaky.

  25. I think that you are 100% right on. It is really disturbing that this woman is not being questioned and considered for this crime. To make things worse, now all the hate mongers are holding this case up to the light as a sort of justification for killing Trayvon, as if the killing of a teenager and of a vulnerable little baby are not one in the same thing. When I suggested that this woman could be a possible suspect in the killing of her own baby and that there were certain inconsistencies in her story that were not reconcilable, I got death threats. Yes, people threatened to kill me for stating what should be a self evident process in the interests of justice. This crap has got to stop.

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