A Washington, D.C., teen was killed this week all because of his brand-new, bright-red Nike Air Jordans, his mom believes.
According to the Washington Post, James Anthony Smith had desperately wanted the shoes for Christmas, and so his mother paid $220 for the coveted shoes and gave the 17-year-old his Christmas gift early.
James, a sophomore at Ballou High School, wore his shoes for four days before he was shot on a basketball court at the Frederick Douglass Community Center on Monday evening. James was found a block away, on the street, shoeless, prompting his mother, Benita Smith, to believe that whoever attacked her son did so for the sneakers.
“He was an all-American kid,” Smith told the Post. “He loved his red shoes. He loved basketball. He loved his computer games. ... I can’t believe he was killed, all over a pair of shoes.”
The shooter, the grieving mother said, “just wasted another person’s life as well as his own.”
Detectives “tentatively think” that James’ death may be related to a robbery, Police Chief Peter Newsham noted, but said that the investigation was ongoing. No arrests have been made in the case.
Smith said that her son, who enjoyed Spanish classes, was working to improve his grade. She gave him his Christmas gift early “because he asked and he’s a good kid.” Before he left to go to the court on Monday, Smith said that her son “told me he loved me.”
The Post notes that DC Council Member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8) met with Smith and called for more resources to combat crime in the area. He also called for an end to the senseless killings.
“We need some new re-education as to how we should act as a people,” White said. “We shouldn’t devalue ourselves to an Air Jordan.”
Read more at the Washington Post.