‘I know she’s with me’: Anthony family grieves a year later

This weekend marks the first anniversary since an 8-year-old was killed petting a pony, in a drive-by shooting near her home.
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 8:19 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - This weekend marks the first anniversary since an 8-year-old was killed petting a pony, in a drive-by shooting near her home.

As Arbrie Anthony’s family deals with grief, they’re doing everything they can to make sure her legacy lives on.

“Right here by my side, that’s where she use to be at all the time. So no matter where I go, I know she’s with me,” Anthony’s dad says.

Over the last year, Anthony’s dad and aunt have organized community events in her name, all to give back.

While a lot of families start the year fresh with new resolutions, the Anthony family says they’re taking the pain from 2022, to help those around them in 2023.

“I would say first pray to give the glory to God. And just think about all the good memories. just think about all the good memories,” her dad shares.

Remembering Anthony as fearless, patient, kind, loving and a friend to all is how the Anthony family says they made it through 2022.

Jamila McDaniel, Anthony’s aunt, shares, “We’ve done good, even when the situation happened. I knew my brother couldn’t stand up to do it so I had to step up. But we all have been putting together as I said, he got great friends, his family, the community, everybody has been chipping in, you know, helping him.”

Determined to keep her spirit alive in the Augusta community they decided to live like Anthony and give back to things she loved most starting with school.

“The book bag drive was a pretty good turnout. A lot of her friends were able to come to play,” Anthony’s dad says.

Next a scholarship in her name, we gave it to a senior excellent in the community and the classroom. Donated in our in honor of her.

Excellence and first in class and then we look at community service and you know, make sure you’re a good kid. You know, first, you have to have the college acceptance letter.

And her dad’s favorite memory, a birthday party at her grave, she would have been 9 years old.

“My favorite memory was probably her birthday party because like I said, she had both sides of her family there. Everyone was enjoying each other. And they put together a dance contest where the trophy was in her name,” Anthony’s dad said.

At the end of the day, she taught her family to be two things fearless and patient, and that’s how they plan to live in 2023.

She was fearless like she’s been on a plane before, but I haven’t. So the new year started and I’m taking my first flight. So now it’s things that I second guess and was scared for you, I’m fearless now,” McDaniel shares.

“She taught me patience. No rush. just savor every moment that you got and live life because it was just we were all there on that same day that it happened we all were over there planning it was popping fireworks and stuff. just to be with her for one minute. and then the next minute it was all taken away in just a matter of a second.”

The official day of her death is the weekend of Sunday, Jan. 8. Her family says that they have just been trying to tackle their first holiday season without her so they do not have much planned. They hope to a purple balloon release at her graveside with family and friends.