By Christyn Allen
ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – It’s been two and a half weeks since 7-year-old Antonio “Espn” Yarger, Jr. lost his life after being shot in the head at the corner of Downing Ave and Fairmount Pkwy in Erie, Pa.
“We just miss everything. His little squeaky voice, him running around the house,” his cousin, Amari Brunson, told Erie News Now.
Amari and Espn’s mom, Raquel Coleman, can still find joy in remembering their favorite little boy. “There were days I would come home from work and pick him up from my mom’s house, and he’d get in the car and be like ‘hey mommy!’ That’s my baby, and I just miss him a lot,” said Coleman.
Despite the rainy weather, dozens of people came to honor Espn at a Take Back the Site vigil on Tuesday evening. “When you live in a world that is so cruel, to see all this love and support it means a lot,” said his aunt, Taneisha Salter.
The vigil comes just one day after two teenagers are arrested and charged with the second grader’s murder. His family say while the arrest is progress, no amount of arrests or charges can bring Espn back. “It doesn’t really mean anything because it’s not going to bring him back,” said Brunson.
“I’m glad, but it still doesn’t take away the pain… We’re glad there’s going to be justice, but it still doesn’t take away the pain,” said Salter.
Espn’s family say they’ll keep his memory alive. While they await justice, they’re advocating for an end to gun violence in Erie, hoping another family will never have to endure this pain again. “I miss him. I miss holding his hand. I miss him kissing me,” Coleman said.
“We love you, Espn. Forever and Always. That’s it,” said Brunson.