BROWNSVILLE — A 16-month-old boy riding in a stroller in Brownsville Sunday evening was shot and killed by a gunman who was believed to be aiming for his father — and cops were offering a $12,000 reward for help catching the killer, cops said.
Antiq Hennis was sitting in his stroller, pushed along Bristol Street by his mother and father, when a gunman fired four shots as the trio crossed Livonia Avenue about 7:15 p.m., according to the NYPD.
One of the .45-caliber bullets pierced the left side of Antiq's head and two others passed through his stroller, said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly during a brief press conference with Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the West Indian Day Parade.
"If past is prologue, you can bet the guns used were illegally possessed and purchased in a different state," Bloomberg said.
"Every child is precious and every child deserves to be protected," he added.
Antiq's parents went with him to Brookdale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Kelly said.
Investigators believe the suspect was aiming for Antiq's father, 21-year-old Anthony Hennis, who has an extensive arrest record for drug and gun possession, Kelly said.
Friends and relatives visited the family's Brownsville home, about a block from the shooting, to console Antiq's grieving parents.
"They're taking it very hard," said Antiq's great-grandfather, Floyd Hines, 77.
Hines said Antiq was a fun-loving and energetic boy.
"He liked his cars and his little tricycle," Hines said.
"He was a very nice little kid and he loved me to death," Hines said. "He'd always gnaw on my finger."
The suspect remained at large Monday morning and Kelly said investigators are looking into the boy's father's personal ties.
Hennis was not cooperating with the police investigation into his son's death, Kelly said.
Antiq's death came just days after a 3-year-old Bronx boy was grazed by a bullet meant for someone else.
The gunman in that shooting turned himself later that night.