MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office, on Monday, Aug. 30, identified the 12-year-old boy killed Sunday morning on the city's north side as Andre Smith II.
According to the Milwaukee Police Department, the child died from injuries caused by blunt force trauma. His younger brother was also injured in the incident.
Photo provided by family.
It's a heinous and egregious crime that is sending shockwaves throughout the community – leaving many speechless.
"It's just hard, it's hard. I don't have any words," said Illysha McCroy, Smith's grandmother.
On Monday, loved ones gathered to remember and celebrate Smith's life.
"I don't understand why somebody would do that to a child," said one of the boy's aunts. "He was the nicest little boy. He didn't ask for this. He loved to love people, he loved to love people."
According to Milwaukee police, Smith suffered blunt force injuries on Sunday near 46th and Glendale. Family members say he was beaten with a hammer – and died at the hospital.
Smith's 8-year-old brother, Aston, was also hurt and was treated for his injuries.
"He was my greatest brother," said Aston, Andre Smith II's brother.
During a vigil Monday near 71st and Hope – McCroy, who cares for Smith and his siblings, said her heart is shattered.
"I really appreciate the community helping and reaching out. It's going to be a hard long, long journey for these grandkids and myself," said McCroy.
Those closest to Smith tell FOX6 News he was a happy, smart, and caring child. They said he loved Legos, Minecraft, and playing basketball.
"His smile was just so bright. He was a goofy kid, he liked having fun," said Shatya Martina, Smith's sister.
"He was a light that shined in a dim room," said Angela Hayes, a close friend of McCroy.
Family members say they know the man responsible for Smith's homicide – and tell FOX6 News that he was taken into custody on Monday; however, Milwaukee police have yet to confirm the suspect has been arrested.
Monday afternoon, Milwaukee Alderman Khalif Rainey released a statement that said, in part:
"It is inconceivable to me that anyone could use such force to cause harm and fatal injuries to a child, or anyone. This heinous and unspeakable violence simply cannot happen and must be strongly denounced in the community," said Rainey.
Balloon release for Andre Smith
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Milwaukee Police at 414-935-7360 or Crime Stoppers at 414-224-Tips or P3 Tips App to remain anonymous.