According to a report by WARK news in Fayetteville, 17-year-old Anthony Smith walked two miles to the Marvin’s Food Store in his neighborhood and returned completely unharmed. The extraordinary tale shocked family and friends, and has since captivated the hearts of millions nationwide.
“I saw him come back with my own eyes. It was amazing,” says one of Anthony’s neighbors. “I thought he was a goner for sure when he decided to walk openly down the street. I listened for the gunshots. But they never came.”
No one was more pleased by Anthony’s incredible survival story than his mother. Josephine Smith, a 44-year-old hairdresser, sent her son on the dangerous quest and was elated at his unexpected return.
“My car broke down last week and we were running low on basic groceries,” she told the reporter. “So against my better judgement I asked Anthony to walk to the grocery store. I thought maybe I would never see him again. But I had no choice. The family needed food.
“I was shocked when he showed up on my doorstep with a grocery bag. As soon as he got inside I checked him for bullet wounds, just in case he had been shot without realizing it. But he was clean. I guess miracles do happen.”
Anthony Smith’s story stands in stark contrast to the experience of many other black teens in America, who all too often are shot and killed by law enforcement while simply walking down the street.
In February 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Fla. The shooter, George Zimmerman, was charged with murder but acquitted of all charges.
In August of this year, 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. His death set off weeks of protest and unrest in the mostly black city, where racial tensions have simmered for decades.
The deaths of these two unarmed black teens have symbolized the wider problem of racial profiling by law enforcement. For his part young Anthony says he understands the dangers of walking outside and tries to live with them as best he can.
“Sometimes in order to get ahead in life you have to take risks,” he says, “but now that my mother’s car is fixed, I don’t plan on walking down the street again anytime soon. I don’t want to push my luck.”