(WSVN) - We know Santonio Carter as the man whose 6-year-old son was gunned down in front of his home. But inner city kids know him as the guy who is always there to help. It was a crime that shocked the nation. Six-year-old King Carter shot and killed outside his home. In tonight’s Hope and Healing, 7’s Craig Stevens shows us how the shooting put King Carter’s father on a mission to help other kids.
It’s been seven months since 6-year-old King Carter was killed.
Santonio Carter: “The pain is unbearable. Ain’t no coping with the pain.”
But his father Santonio has turned that pain into purpose. He says his son’s death made him determined to help inner city kids.
Santonio Carter: “After that doors just opened. So many kids who don’t have a father in their life.”
The kids, from the northwest Miami-Dade neighborhood, came to him to simply say sorry about his son.
But they stayed — for help with their own lives.
Santonio Carter: “They come to me about everything. Advice about girls, about drugs, advice about drugs, about school.”
Santonio Carter: “So right now I got like thousands of little boys.”
Santonio, who grew up in Miami’s inner city, says some of the stories have even shocked him.
Santonio Carter: “I talk to some young kids who thought about suicide before. They ain’t even 10 years old.”
Santonio Carter: “I thought I went through something. Some 10-year-olds got some real rough stories.”
Corey Hayes: “One day I want to be like my big brother.”
Cory and Shirddrick are brothers. They call themselves the Swaggg Boyz, and they have big dreams.
Corey Hayes: “You never know. You might get a record deal.”
Their father is in jail. Santonio has stepped in as a father figure to encourage and guide them.
Shirddrick Myrick: “He tell me to stay out of trouble. ‘First you gotta focus on school, then your career.'”
Romeo Taylor: “Now we moved to Opa-locka where there’s still a lot of shooting and killing, and I don’t want my family around that. I’m trying to get them away.”
Romeo Taylor is also looking to Santonio to help him with a music career. Santonio is a rapper himself.
Santonio Carter: “My first album came out when I was 14. I sold 50,000 copies.”
Since he has walked the same streets, Santonio can walk in the shoes of the boys he’s trying to help.
Santonio Carter: “When I came into the music world, it just stopped me from running in the streets. A lot of my friends who continued to run the streets, he died, he went in jail, he got set up.”
And now he’s hoping to use his music to change lives, by creating an after-school program called “BOOM.”
Santonio Carter: “BOOM, stands for Branding Our Own Movement. Benefiting Off Our Mission. Being Our Own Man.”
It’s a place where the boys can pursue a passion, and a positive path forward.
Romeo Taylor: “Do something extraordinary and big so the whole family can get out of the hood.”
And a place where a man who could have lost all hope can instead try to heal by helping the next generation.
Santonio Carter: “They’re developing into bright young men. Bright, productive young men as we speak.”
The goal is for the #BOOM project to become a certified after-school program and to expand nationwide.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
BOOM Contact: Santonio Carter
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