Emotional funeral for murdered Stamford teen
STAMFORD — Eighteen-year-old Antonio Shai Robinson didn’t think of himself as an adult. But through his own words — read aloud by a mourner at his funeral Thursday — he showed more than 300 friends and family members what it meant to be a man.
“Responsible, caring, helpful, strong and adventurous,” Domus outreach worker Josh Brown read from Robinson’s senior class essay. These were the qualities Robinson, who was gunned down May 31 on Stamford’s West Side, wanted to embody as an adult, and his mother, Michelle Warren, wanted everyone to hear her son’s words as he perched on the brink of manhood.
“My dad always told me there was no such thing as love,” Brown read. “There is a reason behind everything, in that you had to be responsible. Own up to your actions. This is part of being a man.”
As mourners filed past Robinson’s open casket and into pews at Faith Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, wails of grief drowned out soft music played by a three-piece band. As officiants prepared to close the dark blue casket — covered with bright yellow and white roses — following an hour of viewing, the wails intensified.
“I love you,” shouted Robinson’s sister, Shaniya Moore. “I love you. I’m sorry, baby.”
A lot of questions in Robinson’s shooting remain unanswered. Police have released few details, but his family said the Stamford Academy senior, who was set to graduate next week, was shot beneath the Interstate 95 overpass on West Avenue while on his way to play basketball with friends at the Chester Addison Community Center.
The family says Robinson was talking on the phone when he was shot and may have not known he was in anyone’s sights. Police said they hope to make an arrest in the case soon, and friends and family members speculate the shooter is a juvenile who was aiming for another youth and Robinson was the unintended victim.
According to his essay, Robinson hadn’t seen his father in 10 years. He was in elementary school at the time and he remembered his “pops” picking him up from school and bringing him home and saying he would be back. But he never returned, because he ended up in prison.
Robinson wrote that he wanted to finish high school and become the first in his family to go to college. His football coach thought he had the right stuff to succeed on the field, and in life.
“I don’t know if you have ever seen one of our team’s games, but Antonio was our defense,” Stamford High football coach Jamar Greene said. “That kid never missed a tackle.”
Greene saw Robinson mature as a person.
When Robinson was told he wasn’t allowed to compete against crosstown rival Westhill High School in the last game of the 2016 season because he missed a few practices, he took it in stride, Greene said. Robinson, a co-captain, made a point to tell Greene he understood why he couldn’t play and he didn’t blame the coach. The team lost that game 29-6, Greene said, admitting he had been tempted to break the rules to let Robinson play because he was such a good kid.
Greene drew claps and cheers when he told mourners that next year the Knights will play with Robinson’s initials on the back of their helmets and their season will be dedicated to his memory.
Robinson was interred at Woodland Cemetery.