Three teenagers have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 16-year-old boy whose beating was captured on amateur video.
Nineteen-year-old Silvanus Shannon, 16-year-old Eric Carson and 18-year-old Eugene Riley were charged as adults with first degree felony murder, said Tandra Simonton, spokesperson for the Cook County States Attorney. They were all held without bond. They are charged in the death of Derrion Albert, an honors student who was beaten to death last Thursday. An amateur videotape of the beating has been broadcast nationally. It’s unclear who shot the footage, but a local television station that received the tape turned it over to police. The tape shows attackers wielding two-by-four wooden planks and punching and kicking a single person. At one point, four or five males are seen beating and stomping the same young man after he falls to the ground. As the attackers run away, the person with the camera and several others approached Albert and carried him into a nearby building. “Derrion, get up!” a female voice pleads. On Monday, family and friends, some wearing shirts bearing Albert’s photo, held a vigil in his honor. Albert’s grandfather, Joseph Walker, told CNN affiliate WLS-TV that his grandson was a good kid who didn’t deserve to die. “He was in bible class this Tuesday night. Church on Sunday,” Walker told WLS-TV. “I have no trouble out of my grandson whatsoever. This thing that happened to him is so horrific that we just don’t know what we’re going to do. We lost a really dear friend in my grandson. He was a blessed child.” Walker said the family was struggling to come to terms with why Albert was killed. “I don’t know where all this anger come from these people today,” he told WLS-TV. “That’s just too much anger for someone to have in their heart. All I can do is I’m going to pray for these people, I’m going to to pray for forgiveness.” Albert’s aunt, Rose Braxton, told CNN affiliate WGN-TV that the family was even more hurt that a memorial in Albert’s honor was burned down. “To go and burn a memorial after such tragedy, then that just speaks for itself to what kind of people they are,” she told WGN-TV. Family and friends asked the community to turn in anyone they knew who was a part of Albert’s beating. “What kind of person, what kind of individual, has such rage and such anger and such madness” the Rev. Michael Pfleger said. “We’ve got to get to the hearts of our children, because nothing, nothing, excuses or justifies the actions of an individual who would beat another individual. Nothing justifies that in this society. ” Pfleger said it was time to make a change, so children aren’t afraid to go to or from school. He said this kind of teen violence was not just an issue for Chicago, but from “Oakland to Newark.” Ron Huberman, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, said he had met with Albert’s classmates. “How do we make sure this event doesn’t become another event” he said. “Another vigil on another day.” Huberman said he will fight every day to ensure the safety of children in Chicago’s schools. “We can promise them and we can say that we we will absolutely remember Derrion,” he said.
Flanked by people holding signs with photos of a young child and the words “Don’t shoot, I want to grow up,” Pfleger pleaded for peace. “It’s time for guns, and it’s time for two-by-fours to stop being the way we treat each other,” he said.