BROADVIEW — The mother of a man beaten to death in an Austin apartment — perhaps over a cigarette — on Thursday described the slaying as "so senseless."
"There's a lot of questions I need answered," said Vanessa Clark, mother of Anton Baker, 43, who allegedly was killed by two 14-year-old boys late Wednesday.
"We were told it was over a cigarette, but whether he asked [for one] or they asked, it's so senseless," Clark said tearfully, surrounded by her dead son's aunts, uncles and siblings at her Broadview home.
Baker, of Broadview, reportedly was hit in head with a baseball bat after an altercation with the two teens, his family said. The incident took place in the 1000 block of North Leclaire Avenue at 11 p.m. Wednesday night, according to police.
Police said two teens were in custody.
Baker, an award-winning roller skater in his youth, was also a new grandfather. His granddaughter, Serenity, was born Aug. 4.
According to his family, Baker was respected in the community and was "funny as hell" — Chris Tucker funny, said one aunt. He also loved to dance and loved children, said another.
"Tony wasn't perfect, he had his hang-ups, but that's just like anyone else," his mother said.
Her husband, David Clark, sat beside her. He spent the morning of his 66th birthday identifying his stepson's body at the morgue Thursday.
"It's not at all the best birthday present," he said.
Baker's family hopes for justice for their slain loved one.
"I think [his killers] should be tried as adults," family member Deon Clark said. "If you're old enough to kill a man, you should be old enough to pay for it."