- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 29, 2009

CHICAGO | Cell phone footage showing a group of teens viciously kicking and striking a 16-year-old honors student with splintered railroad ties has ramped up pressure on Chicago officials to address chronic violence that has led to dozens of deaths of city teens each year.

The graphic video of the afternoon melee emerged on local news stations over the weekend, showing the fatal beating of Derrion Albert, a sophomore honor-roll student at Christian Fenger Academy High School. His death was the latest addition to a rising toll: More than 30 students were killed last school year, and the city could exceed that number this year.

Prosecutors charged four teenagers Monday with fatally beating Derrion, who was walking to a bus stop when he got caught up in the mob street fighting, authorities said.

The violence stemmed from a shooting early Thursday morning involving two groups of students from different neighborhoods, said Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the Cook County prosecutor’s office. When school ended, members of the groups began fighting near the Agape Community Center.

During the attack, captured in part on a bystander’s cell phone video, Derrion is struck on the head by one of several young men wielding wooden planks. After he falls to the ground and appears to try to get up, he is struck again and then kicked. Ms. Simonton said Derrion was a bystander and not part of either group.

Prosecutors charged Silvonus Shannon, 19, Eugene Riley, 18, Eric Carson, 16, and Eugene Bailey, 18, with first-degree murder, Ms. Simonton said.

Mr. Shannon, Mr. Riley and Mr. Carson were ordered held without bond Monday. The Cook County public defender’s office, which represented the three teenagers in court, had no immediate comment. Mr. Bailey was due in bond court Tuesday, Ms. Simonton said.

Chicago police said they were looking for at least three more suspects, but would not discuss a possible motive for the attack.

Ms. Simonton said Derrion was knocked unconscious when Mr. Carson struck him in the head with a board and a second person punched him in the face. Derrion regained consciousness and was trying to get up when he was attacked a second time by five people, struck in the head with a board by Mr. Riley and stomped in the head by Mr. Shannon, Ms. Simonton said.

Desiyan Bacon, Mr. Bailey’s aunt, said her nephew didn’t have anything to do with the beating and was a friend of the victim.

“They need to stop the crime, but when they do it, they need to get the right person,” Ms. Bacon said.

Fenger students said Derrion’s death intensified tensions at the school, with arguments about him breaking out in hallways all day Monday. Several blocks away, a memorial erected on the spot where he was beaten was burned down. Police also increased patrols before and after school and in the neighborhood.

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