Terrell Anderson, 16

It was as much a cry to the heavens as a question from a mother to her child's assailant: "What are you shooting my son for?' "

That was all Angel Anderson could manage as the boy - no more than 16, she thought - fired three bullets into her son Christopher, 17, in front of their South Philadelphia home on April 11.

Terrell Anderson

"Miss, I'm sorry, I didn't know they were your kids!" the boy said before running away. And then a second apology: "I'm sorry, that's not him."

Terrell Anderson believed the bullets that wounded his brother in the stomach and ankle were meant for him, because of an argument with an acquaintance. His sister, Tanisha, 20, said the pair had already had a fistfight, probably over a girl. "My brother Terrell got the best of him."

Terrell, afraid of retaliation even before Chris was shot, "knew to stay in after that," Angel Anderson said. "I told my kids that they couldn't go anywhere for two years."

Terrell, whose mother had been trying to move the family from their house on the 1800 block of South 21st Street, now was begging her. "He said, 'Mom, hurry up, please!' I was trying to take Terrell and leave," said the single mother of six, "but I just didn't know which way to go."

On Saturday, April 15, Terrell woke up happy - not surprising; since he was the child, Angel said, he "loved to act silly." Tanisha elaborated: "Terrell, he goes through the house with boxers and a jacket, wearing a bucket hat, long socks and flip-flops, eating Oodles of Noodles all day!"

That evening, Angel, who had fallen asleep in a chair, awoke at 9:30 to find Terrell leaving the house. He said the acquaintance had called off the feud. "It's cool between me and him now, Mom."

"I said, that's not true, he's just saying that. Don't go anywhere." He didn't listen, and 20 minutes later, she said, she called the police and told them her son's life was in danger. The officer said, "How do you know that?" By midnight, Terrell had been shot in the head three blocks from home and he died soon after.

Angel dreams of moving her family to Chestnut Hill or New Zealand. "I think that's where they have the sightseeing in the mountains," she said. "I picture myself there with my kids. On a farm. Caring for animals."

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