Three charged in beating death of student

September 28, 2009 2:42:47 PM PDT
Three teenagers were charged Monday in the beating death of a 16-year-old Chicago honor roll student on his way home from school, a melee captured on a cell phone video that shows a group striking him with boards and kicking him as he lay on a sidewalk. The death of Derrion Albert, a sophomore at Christian Fenger Academy High School, on Thursday has reignited community outrage over chronic violence involving city students and is putting pressure on school and police officials to address gang problems that often are at the root of such violence. More than 30 students were killed in 2008, according to district figures, and the city could exceed that toll in 2009.

But some community members said the solution lies with parents.

"It is our problem. We have to take control of our children," said Dawn Allen, who attended a vigil at the school Monday, where a group of residents tried to force their way into the school before being turned back by police.

Albert was attacked around 3 p.m. Thursday in front of Agape Community Center in the south Chicago neighborhood of Roseland, where he was walking to a bus stop, authorities said.

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

The attack, captured in part on a bystander's cell phone video, shows Albert being struck on the head by one of several young men wielding wooden planks. After he falls to the ground an appears to try to get up, he is struck again and then kicked.

Prosecutors charged Silvonus Shannon, 19, Eugene Riley, 18, and Eric Carson, 16, with first-degree murder, and they were ordered held without bond on Monday, said Andy Conklin, a spokesman for the Cook County prosecutor's office.

Simonton said Albert was a bystander and not part of either group. She said Albert was knocked unconscious when Carson struck him in the head with a board and the second person punched him in the face. Albert regained consciousness and was trying to get up when he was attacked a second time by five people and was struck in the head with a board by Riley and stomped in the head by Shannon, Simonton said.

Desiyan Bacon, Riley's aunt, attended Monday's vigil at the school and 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," Bacon said.

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