I remember spotting Anthony Hartfield Jr. walking through the halls of U.S. Grant High School nearly a year ago.
He was the kind of smiley kid who was a little reserved, like he didn’t know if it was OK to laugh with new adults around. He reminded me right away of my little brother, who tucks in his lips when he’s suppressing a grin. They’re funny people who look like they’re about to burst into laughter during a midterm or church or a movie theater. But they’ll keep it cool long enough for the grownups to leave the room.
I met Anthony while writing a story about the dropout rate at U.S. Grant, which has the highest rate in Oklahoma City Public Schools. About 1 in 10 student’s don’t make it. A new principal was working to right the ship. Anthony was positive about this school and positive about his future. He had been accepted to college.
It knocked the wind out of me.
I only met this kid for a few minutes last year, and he made an impression on me. How badly must all of his former classmates and teachers feel? How badly must that school be hurting?
Police don’t know why this happened; a motive is unclear. The best they can suspect right now is a burglary gone wrong. My heart aches.