Tony died, but why?

Yesterday I received a call from Missy after church. She told me she had some really really bad news. When I hear that in the line of work we do I honestly can expect anything. I’m not trying to sound cold  about that statement however I have heard news over the phone or in person ranging from anything to everything.

Sometimes my world can be shaken by really really bad news and other times I’ve felt the shake before and can fairly predict how I’ll get through it.

I wasn’t prepared!!!

I told Missy “OK!” Without taking a breath she told me “Black Tony was murdered last night.” Again because maybe of my silence she kept talking. “Sambo shot him with a shot-gun in his house.” I kept holding the phone but I closed my eyes trying to block everything out to somehow understand what she was saying.

My mind ran through everything she just said and I knew the house was Sambo’s house and I also knew Tony knew Sambo. Heck everyone on the streets knows Sambo. If you have extra cash or a food stamp card you can spend a cold January night at Sambo’s. He even came to our church.

I also know that Sambo runs a crack house and if you “use” you know how to work it at Sambo’s. Tony was a homeless alcoholic that seemed to find an apartment from time to time stay in but I also knew he stayed a lot at Sambo’s because Tony had an addiction to crack.

Oh we never discussed his addiction. Tony just wasn’t that kind of guy. He was quiet and gentle. He broke up more fights on the streets than he started so I just didn’t understand what went wrong at Sambo’s.

When Missy paused I asked her how she knew what she told me to be true. I hear all kinds of rumors. Men have been dead so many times just because nobody has seen them in a few days.

Shaky Roy had just gotten out of jail that morning and he came to church. On the way back to dropping Roy off after church he told Missy he read it in the paper at the jail. Missy bought a paper and it was on the front page.

My eyes stayed close as I told Missy I needed to get off the phone. I needed time to work it all through in my mind.

I just wrote about Tony in my blog about how he helped Missy and I as we were dealing with Russel’s murderer. Tony called me mom. That’s how close we were. He loved me and always made sure he told me that. I loved him and I always told him. My mind raced back to the bridge a few weeks ago when we last talked. NOT TONY!!!

There’s a lot of repeat names on the streets. Roy, Don, Mike, Steven, John, TONY. So I mean it with no disrespect when I refer to Tony as Black Tony. Missy is great being our secretary for knowing everyone’s full correct names. I on the other hand know only the mens first names or their street names. OR, I give them a name that I only call them by. They allow me to do that but nobody else can get away with it.

Black Tony is what everyone called him. There was another Tony and Missy and I called him Tony Boy because he showed us papers that truly said his middle name was Boy. Anthony is Anthony or AMP and not Tony. Amp is on and off the streets anymore due to his health and Tony Boy just passed away in August however Black Tony was still Black Tony. It works and it stuck but now our Black Tony was dead and I needed more than what the paper said so I went to the streets.

Of course I started on the 14th Street Bridge and found several of our guys. The nephew of Sambo was even there. He now lives on the streets. Donnie asked me why I was there after we talked about Tony and I told him because I wanted to hug them and see them. Hugs went all around. Even to Sambo’s nephew whom I had never met till then. His leg was real messed up because the night before he was hit by a car.

That is nothing new…all the men have been hit by cars. Sambo’s nephew stood up anyhow for his hug.

The past few days news has trickled in. Tony wasn’t murdered Sunday morning in the middle of the night but Saturday morning at 8:30 am. Tony was arguing with a man and woke up Sambo. Sambo said and was quoted in the paper that he wanted to stop the arguing so he shot Tony in the chest with his shot-gun.

Another murder that didn’t make any sense. Our hearts again are heavy because of something that can NOT connects us to any logic but something we hear about and work with every day. My Tony is dead! Sambo’s in jail and someone went by and shot bullets at his house.

Tony was very much liked and he had so many friends. Not long ago he stopped some of the men from beating up Robert. I asked Tony Why? :o) Heck, Robert needed  knocked in his head but Tony saw it a different way. He knew Robert could have been hurt really bad and even though Robert isn’t his favorite guy he still didn’t want him to be hurt. That’s Tony!

Everyone’s settling back down now and things have returned to normal. (Our normal) Thank you all for caring and praying. Tomorrow our cooler weather is moving in so hats, gloves and socks will be getting passed out. We’re taking up donations to get blankets for the fellas. Think about how you can help.

We can’t do it without you…

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2 Responses to “Tony died, but why?”

  1. I don’t think we met Black Tony. His story is familiar but his face isn’t. Our prayers go out to you, to his friends and to his family, wherever they are and whether they know he’s gone or not. A loss like his-a good man who was a good friend, is always very difficult. ((HUGS))to everyone from their friends in PA.

  2. Tony was a fantastic gut……One of the best I know. i will miss him a lot. I am really tired of burying my friends. It is definitely the hard part of this Ministry…..


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