MILWAUKEE — Dozens gathered to mourn 12-year-old Andre Smith II in two vigils held in Milwaukee Monday night.
Milwaukee Police say they were called out to a home near 46th and Glendale Sunday morning, where they discovered Andre with blunt force injuries. They took him to the hospital, and he later died. Police say Andre's 8-year-old brother was also hospitalized. On Monday, he was back at home.
Andre's sister and grandmother describe him as a bright, young boy. His grandmother held a vigil and balloon release near her home at 71st and Hope Monday night.
"He made me a big sister, I mean, I love him with all my heart," said Andre's sister, Shatya Martina. "And he’s the first little brother I actually called mine, and I took care of and watched him grow up."
"He was a happy kid," said Andre's grandmother, Illysha McCroy. "He loved Minecraft, Roblox, Legos, he watched the championship game with me. It’s just so hard to fathom."
Over at Lincoln Park, Andre's mother Nakeda Martina also held a vigil for her son.
"He called me Friday night at 12 o'clock on the dot to wish me a happy birthday," Martina said. "And then he was beat to death on my actual birthday."
Martina says she does not have custody of Andre, and she lives in Georgia. She said she had fears something like this might happen.
"I have been calling CPS every week since the Fourth of July when I picked Andre out of the street," Martina said.
"Nobody listen to my kids, nobody listen to me, and now my baby gone," Martina added.
“We love you, Andre,” the group says as they release the balloons. pic.twitter.com/x4LXVsF8Is— Stephanie Haines (@TMJ4Stephanie) August 30, 2021