Slain U.S. Grant grad defied the odds, couldn't escape gun violence

Anthony Hartfield Jr., who graduated from U.S. Grant High School last year, was a role model to younger students and a leader on the school's basketball team. He was shot to death Monday after someone broke in to his father's house.
BY BRYAN DEAN bdean@opubco.com Published: January 19, 2013

Team leader

Basketball was Hartfield's passion. And he was good at it. He moved to Oklahoma City to live with his father two years ago and became a star for U.S. Grant right away.

Hartfield was a Big All-City and All-State honorable mention basketball selection by The Oklahoman in both 2011 and 2012.

Teachers, Barger said, live for the kids who keep a positive attitude and work for success despite their obstacles.

“That was Anthony,” Barger said. “That's what hurts so much. He was such a role model. At Grant, we don't win a lot of ballgames. But because they all come together, we become a family.”

Hartfield was a team leader both because of his work ethic and his personality, his coach said. He wanted to be in the gym, and his teammates wanted to be with him.

“I picked Anthony up every morning last year at 6 a.m.,” Barger said. “He would come in an hour and a half before school just to get an extra 500 shots in. He stayed after school, too, and he and the guys would play games against each other. Most of the time, I took him home. A lot of times, I'd have to turn the lights off in the gym to get them to stop.”

New Year's resolution

Hartfield was accepted to Connors State College in Warner, where he played on the basketball team last semester. He planned to major in nursing, a choice that didn't surprise Barger because Hartfield always wanted to help people.

But money became an issue, as did a growing separation from his father, Guess said. “His New Year's resolution was to get closer to his father,” Guess said.

Anthony Hartfield Sr. said there wasn't a bad bone in his son's body.

He said the two were more like close friends or brothers at times.

“I had to remind him, ‘Son, I'm your father,'” Anthony Hartfield Sr. said.

Hartfield was working on his New Year's resolution the night he was killed. He was visiting his father's house at 1215 NE 46 when someone kicked in the door and started shooting.

Police haven't released many details and said they don't have a motive for the shooting. Friends and relatives said two people tried to get into the house. Hartfield tackled one before the other shot him with a rifle.

“The kid was a hero,” Barger said. “When they kicked in that front door, he wasn't going to let them past him to hurt anyone else.”

Contributing:

Staff Writer Vallery Brown

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