Claudia Stinson, whose 13-year-old son, Anthony, died after being struck by a police car, keeps his memory alive by inviting his pals to play soccer at her Shirley home. Credit: Newsday/Kendall Rodriguez; Newsday archive; Photo credit: Stinson family

In the five months since a Suffolk County police cruiser struck and killed Anthony Stinson just a block from his Shirley home, his bedroom has stayed largely untouched.

His mother spends much of her days and nights there, among Anthony's trophies, jerseys, school mementos and other reminders of the 13-year-old eighth-grader. Sometimes Claudia Stinson will sob, the memories of her only son rushing in. Other times, her mind returns to that night last September when he was struck by the police cruiser while an officer was responding to a call.

“His life was robbed,” Stinson said. “Taken.”

His life will not be forgotten, Stinson said, thanks to an assist from Anthony's friends. Stinson coaches a soccer team in her front yard made up of two dozen of Anthony's friends from the neighborhood and William Paca Middle School. They have come as a way to cope with Anthony's death, but also, to honor his life.


  • The mother of Anthony Stinson, a 13-year-old Shirley boy struck and killed in September by a Suffolk County police cruiser, is now his friends' soccer coach.
  • Both players and coach say being part of the team helps them cope with Anthony's death.
  • The Stinson family has filed a notice of claim against Suffolk County and the police department that seeks $25 million for medical costs, funeral expenses and pain and suffering.

“They lost a friend, just like I lost a son. … So, I think it's just reciprocal that they come, they leave, they wear his shoes to play soccer,” Stinson said.

Anthony loved football, she added, but soccer was his passion. He started playing when he was 5, Stinson said, and competed on multiple Long Island teams.

One of his friends, Frankie Javitz, 13, of Manorville, said it's almost like the team is a second family for all involved.

“I guess we all just wanted to play as a team in memory of Anthony,” he said. “It's definitely an honor because all of us miss Anthony and we're doing it for Anthony. It definitely helps her a lot, just feeling like a mom and having kids and caring for them while they're here.”

Anthony Stinson in his 2022 William Paca Middle School football...

Anthony Stinson in his 2022 William Paca Middle School football team photo, which hangs in the living room of the family home on Adobe Drive in Shirley. Credit: Handout

A magnet for friends

Stinson also has hung a banner with the team's name, “LLA,” an acronym for “Long Live Anthony,” across the front of her home. Players practice in her front yard. When it's cold out, they come inside, even dribbling a soccer ball through her kitchen and living room.  

Anthony was always a magnet for his friends, whether at home or at his school, which is near where he had been playing football on the night of Sept. 9 before he got on his bike to ride home for dinner.

Just before 8 p.m., he rode west across the four-lane William Floyd Parkway. At the same time, a Suffolk County police officer with a green light was heading south on the parkway to a call with lights and sirens, police said.

The cruiser hit Anthony just before he reached his home a few houses down on Adobe Drive. He was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital and remained there until doctors declared him brain-dead three days later and took him off life support. Doctors with LiveOnNY, a Long Island City-based nonprofit that matches donors with the federal organ transplant list, removed Anthony's organs.

The LLA soccer club, with their coach Claudia Stinson, formed...

The LLA soccer club, with their coach Claudia Stinson, formed a team as a way to honor and remember their friend and her son, Anthony. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Investigations follow

The New York State Attorney General’s Office is investigating the crash, as are Suffolk County and the police department. Officials said the investigations are continuing.

Police have not said how fast the officer was driving. The officer, whose identity has not been released by the police department, remained on active duty after the crash, police said.  

The attorney general's Office of Special Investigation typically handles cases of deaths involving police, peace officers and correction officers under state law. The office investigates the cause and can present evidence of any alleged crime to a grand jury.

Stinson’s lawyer, Maggie Bopp, a former Suffolk County prosecutor, filed a notice of a wrongful death claim on behalf of the family in October seeking $25 million to cover medical costs, funeral expenses and pain and suffering.

“Upon information and belief, respondent failed to operate the police motor vehicle in a cautious and careful manner, drove her vehicle, with reckless disregard for the safety of others, failed to maintain a safe speed, failed to keep proper lookout and yield right of way,” the claim states.

Officials with Suffolk County and the police department declined to comment on the notice of claim, which is one of the steps before possibly filing a lawsuit.

In the hours after his death, Anthony's mother, family members, many friends and hospital medical staff paid a final tribute with an honor walk at Stony Brook University Hospital before his organs were removed for donation.

Claudia Stinson embraces one of her son Anthony's friends in...

Claudia Stinson embraces one of her son Anthony's friends in September outside Stony Brook University Hospital during an honor walk for the 13-year-old middle schooler. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

'Gift of life'

While Anthony remained on life support, his friends came to his home and had a pickup soccer game in the front yard in his honor. They hung his jersey on the yard's fence, lit candles and even laid out Anthony's favorite snacks, including Doritos, in his memory.

They came to the home to grieve, but also to honor him the only way they knew how — by playing soccer in the place where they had countless times before.

After Anthony's funeral, his friends presented a quilt to Stinson that included her son's youth soccer team number, 30, and signed by the team. They also suggested forming another soccer club, this one in Anthony's memory, with his mom as coach.

At the hospital in September, many of her future players joined Stinson, who described donating Anthony's organs that day as “a gift of life.” She wore Anthony’s football jersey for the Cincinnati Bengals, his favorite team, because he saw them as he did himself, an underdog. She continues to wear the team's logo on a necklace around her neck.

“I feel proud of it that Anthony’s body was able to help five adults better their lives,” Stinson said. “People say his heart is beating somewhere and his lungs are breathing, but I don’t think I did it for that. It’s part of the gift of giving.”

Latest videos

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months