Local News

Funeral Held for Slain Sanford Teen

Posted September 13, 2007

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— As friends and family gathered Thursday for the funeral of a Sanford teenager killed this past weekend while playing video games at a friend's home, two other teenagers faced charges in connection with his death.

Police said Antonio Markeist Johnson, 17, of 310 S. Third St., was shot Saturday evening when two teenagers burst through the back door of a residence on Bragg Street and demanded what was in Johnson and two friends' pockets..

Before any of them were able to do anything, one of the assailants fired a shot pointblank at Johnson's face, Capt. David Smith, with the Sanford Police Department, said.

Johnson's friends got away and later returned with police to find Johnson dead, said his friend, Mark McArthur, who lives at the house.

"I heard the gunshot, but I didn't think he was shot until I called the police, and they came back with me," McArthur said.

"It hurt me, it really did," he added. "There was no reason for this."

Police arrested a 15-year-old male suspect, who surrendered Sunday morning, and Antoine Darrell Smith, 18, of 409 San Lee Drive. Both face a charge of first-degree murder and attempted armed robbery.

The suspects were acquaintances of the victims, said Capt. Smith, who called the homicide "senseless."

"You've got a 17-year-old victim, you've got two teenagers, their lives are now probably ruined for the rest of their lives," he said.

Smith also faces additional charges stemming from at least two other incidents, Capt. Smith said. Earlier Sunday, Antoine Smith allegedly punched a woman in a face and fired a round of ammunition at her. He was charged with assault on a female and assault with a deadly weapon.

He also wanted in Greensboro on charges of second-degree kidnapping, assaulting a female, resisting arrest and interfering a 911 phone call.

Meanwhile, family and friends gathered Thursday at First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church to remember Johnson, who his mother described as a joyful teen who was a big teddy bear.

"Anything he could do to help anybody, he would do it," Bonetta Johnson said. "He loved his sister, he loved his family, he loved his brothers."

A junior at Lee County High School, Johnson wanted to pursue a career as a truck driver or mechanic after graduating in 2009, his mother said. In 2006, he was named "Man of the Year," at his church, New Bethel Free Will Baptist Church.

Johnson leaves behind his mother, two brothers and sister. Bonetta Johnson said she was comforted knowing her son was in a better place.

"God makes no mistakes," she said. "We're not put on this earth to stay. We're born to die."