HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The search for a suspect in a deadly shooting continued Sunday after a father died from multiple gunshot wounds Saturday. Now, the family of Antonio Dexter Smith is searching for answers, and his two young children are spending Father's Day without him.
His children are spending this Father's Day without him, but on Sunday, Antonio Dexter Smith's two children and their mothers took the time to talk about the 24-year-old just one day after he was shot and killed near his apartment in Carolina Forest.
"I love you dad," says one of Smith's children, reading a Father's Day letter aloud. "I wish you could come back to me, but you can't."
Smith's family looks at photo albums of baby pictures and holidays spent together. The memory of Antonio Dexter Smith lives on through his children.
"He's the best daddy in the world," his child said.
"He did all he could for his children," said one mother. "I know for a fact he loved his kids."
The friendship forged between these two mothers, with their children sharing Dexter as a father, connects them to his memory. Through the pain of the sudden death of the father, they smile, remembering his personality.
"He was the class clown," said the other mother. "He made everyone laugh, picking on everybody."
No tears today, they tell their kids – be strong, like Daddy used to say.
"He didn't like to see people cry; he was a really tough person," one mother said.
The mothers had to explain to the young children that their dad isn't coming home any more.
"She asked, 'who is going to be my daddy, because he's not here,'" she said. "And I told her he'd always be her Daddy, and he's in a better place because he's not hurting."
The family is taking one day at a time to cope with Smith's untimely death.
At this time, there is no information from the Horry County Police Department regarding the suspect responsible for the shooting.