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Community holds vigil for Racine man stabbed to death

Posted at 8:09 AM, Jun 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-03 09:25:56-04

Days after a man was stabbed to death in front of children in a Racine neighborhood, the community gathered for a vigil.

Sunday evening, family, friends and community members honored 35-year-old Gene Anthony Smith and his 36-year-old girlfriend, Joy Reid outside the house where the incident took place early Thursday morning.

Court records say Smith was intervening in a domestic incident between Reid and the father of her children, 39-year-old Lapiate Boone, when Boone stabbed Smith and Reid. Smith died from his injuries, while Reid continues to recover at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.

Smith's father, Gene Autry Smith Jr., made the trip from St. Louis to hear from all those who loved and knew his son.

Smith was set to graduate from Carthage College next year.

"I would be remiss if I was not to say that if you knew him that you're not hurting as much as I am," Smith's dad said. "He told me a few months ago, 'I'll be walking next May dad.' He was pretty excited about that."

At the same time, Smith was caring for two daughters and juggling a number of jobs at Aurora Healthcare in Kenosha and Froedtert South, where he was an Environmental Services Coordinator.

His coworkers at Froedtert South say he was just promoted to a management position for the kitchen this past week.

"That was the last time we saw him was Tuesday," coworker, Christy Owens said. "That was the last moment that we saw him."

Now they're getting through their loss together, trying to remember the good times.

"When I was going to Nashville, Tenn. I had to get off work and he was like, 'I'll only let you off if you take me with you,'" coworker, Rhonda Grimes said.

"You could joke around with him and he was just wonderful," coworker, Donna Roemer said.

His family is leaning on their support and their faith.

Froedtert South released the following statement about Smith who worked there since 2008:

"The Froedtert South community is heartbroken by this tragic loss and we extend our thoughts and prayers to Gene’s family, friends and team members during this difficult time. Gene was a very respected, trusted, loyal, dedicated and hardworking team member since 2008. We ask for the community to respect the privacy of his family, friends and team members as they grieve this tragedy."

Aurora Healthcare also released a statement regarding Smith:

"Gene was a cherished member of the Kenosha team and will be deeply missed. Our sympathies go out to his loved ones at this difficult time. Additional counseling services have been made available to staff."

The suspect in the attack, Boone, is facing multiple serious charges in connection to the incident, including first degree intentional homicide, attempted first degree intentional homicide. Bond was set at $1 million.