St. Paul woman’s son now part of Gun Violence Memorial Project. She’s trying to get to D.C. to see it.
Mementos of Anthony Boelter’s life are visible in a glass brick — one of his baby shoes, a card about his name, a pin that says “twin” because he had a twin brother.
His brick is part of the Gun Violence Memorial Project at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Boelter, 21, was killed in a shooting in St. Paul in 2020.
Boelter’s mother contributed the items for his memorial block and she’s trying to raise $500 to travel to D.C. to see the exhibit in person before it closes.
Jeanette Boelter thinks about a photo Anthony posted on social media in 2019, which he captioned, “One day I’ll be great.” Now that he’s gone, she said, his memorial block in D.C. “is about close to great as he’s going to get.”
On April 25, 2020, Anthony Boelter was shot as he drove in the area of Minnehaha Avenue and Cypress Street. People in Boelter’s vehicle said he’d “been in a long-standing feud with the occupants of a nearby residence where his ex-girlfriend lived,” according to criminal complaints charging two men, now 29 and 45. They pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting murder, and were sentenced to prison.
Jeanette Boelter has said it really was she and her husband who were in a long-standing dispute with a woman who’d been a family friend. She said she never imagined Anthony would be killed over it.
Since Anthony’s murder, his mother wrote a recollection of him for Everytown for Gun Safety: “Anthony wasn’t the best kid, but he was my kid, and I loved him so much that they used to call him my favorite. He really was my best friend; I cry every day.”
When Jeanette Boelter heard that items were being collected for the Gun Violence Memorial Project, she found out how she could contribute. She said she wants Anthony to be remembered and for people to know gun violence “can happen to anybody.”
There are four houses that make up the Gun Violence Memorial Project, each built of 700 glass bricks, which the National Building Museum says correlates to the number of people in the U.S. killed by guns every week. The bricks contain remembrance items from family members. It’s the memorial’s second installation — the project was first in Chicago.
For Jeanette Boelter, including one of her son’s baby shoes “was kind of perfect” because Anthony loved having nice shoes throughout his life. She also included a $100 bill printed on cloth and the definition card about his name, which starts out “Anthony, noun … A legend.”
“He was always a listening ear for his friends,” she said. “He tried to make everybody’s day turn around by being funny and sarcastic. He wanted to make people smile so they weren’t upset or sad.”
Boelter said she thought she had a bit longer to get to D.C. to see the memorial, but recently realized the exhibit is almost done. The last day it will be available for viewing at the National Building Museum is March 6.
Boelter recently started a GoFundMe for gas money and inexpensive hotel stays for the trip; she said it would be difficult for her otherwise to afford to go. The fundraising site can be found at gofund.me/52bbcfb4.
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