James Anthony Smith‘s mother gave her 17-year-old son a pair of Jordans for Christmas and it costed him his life.

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According to The Washington Post, Smith was shot on a basketball court at the Frederick Douglass Community Center on Monday evening in D.C.. He died about two hours later at a local hospital.

Smith’s mom, Benita Smith, said the gunman clearly killed her son over his sneakers because they were taken off James’s feet, as his body was found shoeless. Police Chief Peter Newsham seemingly agrees, telling the newspaper that they think robbery was the motive behind this shooting, adding that no arrests have been made as of earlier this week.


She purchased the red Air Jordans for $220 and gave them to her son as an early Christmas gift, which he only got to enjoy for four days. Smith told the Post,

He was an all-American kid. He loved his red shoes. He loved basketball. He loved his computer games. … I can’t believe he was killed, all over a pair of shoes.

Smith said that her son, who enjoyed Spanish classes, was working to improve his grades. She gave him his Christmas gift early “because he asked and he’s a good kid.” Before he left to go to the court on Monday, Smith said that her son “told me he loved me.”

James was the sixth teenager under 18 to be killed this year in the District, and the second student from Ballou High to die from violence this year.

No one deserves to have their life cut short, especially over some sneakers.