Larry Smith can recall the moment he learned of his little brother’s death with vivid detail, even with the distance of ten years.
Freshly cooked fish and shrimp released a circuitous course of steam filling the kitchen with an aroma that suggested dinner-time was near. Larry was looking forward to sliding into his usual dining chair; a welcome norm after returning home from a somber trip to Louisiana where he had just accompanied his wife to lay her brother to rest. However, before he could settle in, a sudden succession of shrill rings cut the beckoning aroma of supper. It was one of Larry’s sisters.
“The first call was that Anthony was being taken to the hospital,” he recalled. “Then, the second call came about two hours later. He had passed.”
Anthony Minor was shot and killed at an ATM on Waters Ave. in Savannah, not far from the Bank of America Branch on November 6, 2010 around 7:30 p.m. He was just 49-years-old. When police and paramedics arrived on the scene, Anthony’s truck was still running with the lights on. His debit card was still inside the ATM and he didn’t have a chance to complete his cash withdrawal before he was ambushed by an unknown gunman. His body was sprawled motionless across the pavement.
In the days following the murder, detectives with the Savannah Police Department were on the search for two men who they believed to be potential witnesses. They had been caught by video surveillance at a gas station across the street from the ATM. It was the only camera available to police at the time. A surveillance camera was put in place at the ATM three days after Anthony’s murder.
According to Larry, detectives were able to locate one of the men, whom they interviewed and determined was not involved in the incident. The second man was never located or even identified. Understandably, all that was known of the potential witness was what could be seen in a grainy surveillance photo. His identity was the proverbial needle in a haystack.
Days, months and now years have passed since Anthony’s death and while time is the medium by which we all live, for Larry, it has become an axis by which he measures this unfathomable loss that he is left to explain with terrible phantasms that only further begs the question: “Why?” An internal inquiry that with each passing day has become more of a semantic satiation, morphed into a plea to God. “Why?”
When asked if he thinks the case will ever be solved after all this time, Larry pauses.
“No,” he says as he exhales. “I just keep hoping and praying.”
A truly humble answer for a big brother who reaches out to Crime Stoppers every, single year to request press on his brother’s case and to give a check to Anthony’s reward fund. It is up to $10,500 now, and while $5,000 was a donation from Bank of America, $5,500 is from Larry’s own pocket.
Larry’s hope is that the press, in combination with the large cash reward (that will include an additional award from Crime Stoppers of up to $2,500), will compel someone, anyone to come forward with information about the night Anthony was killed. Maybe that second, potential witness saw the person who did it. Maybe the interviewed witness saw more than they told to police. Maybe the killer is already in a jail cell for another crime and eaten up with guilt. Too many maybes to list.
With all the maybes, there are a few certainties, and the biggest one is that Anthony is not forgotten in the least. Larry loves to brag about Anthony, affectionately called “Kenny”, and their time together in the U.S. Army. The two went to Iraq together in 1990 to serve in Desert Storm and were even stationed together in Ft. Bliss, Texas and Mannheim, Germany. Anthony also has seven living siblings, two daughters and a son who still reside in Savannah and four grandchildren, but only got to meet one before his death.
If you have any information regarding the death of Anthony Minor, you can call Crime Stoppers anonymously 24/7 at 912-234-2020 or you can submit a tip online at SavannahChathamCrimeStoppers.org.
A quick aside before this column’s conclusion, Lt. David Barefield with the Savannah Police Department is on the Board of Directors for Crime Stoppers of Savannah-Chatham County and was one of the first detectives to work Anthony’s case. Coincidentally, this case is the first I learned about and went through when I was hired in October of last year. To say the least, this one is personal for quite a few of us and I cannot emphasize enough that no piece of information is too insignificant or too small. In a case like this, it’s often the obscure details that tend to bring it all together.