- Associated Press - Friday, March 28, 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) - An 11-year-old boy shot dead inside his St. Louis home was a “model student” who was popular among his classmates and teachers.

Antonio Johnson was among seven people inside the home Wednesday night when a gunman climbed up on a ledge and fired eight to 10 shots through a first-floor window. Antonio, shot in the head, was the only person struck.

Police are still searching for the gunman and say it was a targeted shooting. Police said one of the teenagers in the house had been shot in a previous incident.

Antonio’s death hit hard at Froebel Elementary School, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1gxq8fd ) reported. His fourth-grade teacher, Donna Horton, says Antonio was shy but popular, a hard-working boy who was studious.

“He was just a model student,” Horton said. “He gave 100 percent, whatever he did. Anyone would love to have him in their class.”

Antonio had been apparently going over a spelling assignment on the night he died, the paper visible in his room through a window of his home.

“He was taking responsibility for something that was required,” Horton said. “Sometimes you get a kid who says, ‘Yeah, I studied.’ But to know he was actually doing it. Oh, my goodness, this is just making my head spin.”

Horton said Antonio rarely missed school. When he didn’t appear Thursday, she hoped he wasn’t the slain child she had heard about.

“We all just said, ‘Why? Why Antonio, of all people?’” She said. “He was the sweetest kid.”

Police said the gunman broke the glass of a ground-level basement window, stepped onto the ledge to gain elevation and fired through a first-floor window.

Veronica Clark, 53, said her 10-year-old daughter, Casey, was one of Antonio’s classmates.

“It’s really terrible that we can’t even feel safe in our own homes,” Clark said. “He was in the house where he was supposed to be. As parents, what are we supposed to say to our kids about all the crime that’s going on?”

It was the fourth fatal shooting in the same area of south St. Louis since March 15. Police said there were no known connections. Officers declined to say whether there might be a feud causing the violence.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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