Demario Bailey / Sumbitted photo
BY SUN-TIMES STAFF
A 15-year-old boy was fatally shot during a robbery attempt Saturday afternoon in the Englewood neighborhood.
Demario Bailey was gunned down about 12:40 p.m. Saturday as he and his twin brother made their way toward Johnson College Prep, 6350 South Stewart Ave., to play basketball, according to police and the boy’s aunt, Michelle Fitzpatrick.
“Some guys came upon him and tried to rob him of his jacket,” Fitzpatrick said. “Our nephew wouldn’t give up his coat, and they shot him in chest.”
Bailey was on a sidewalk in the 0-100 block of West 63rd Street when four people walked up and announced the robbery, according to police.
A gunman among the four then shot Demario, police said.
Demario, of the 7500 block of South Wabash Avenue, died at the scene, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. He would have turned 16 on Tuesday, family said.
Later, when his body was taken away, his mother wailed and shouted, “I want my baby back!”
Demario was a sophomore at Johnson College Prep charter school, 6350 S. Stewart Ave.
Though Demario wasn’t on the school basketball team like this brother, he “was basically a part of the team, was always there supporting us,” said Ceddrick Hunter, the school’s basketball coach. “He was the unathletic one. They were twins, always together. He was a good kid, all-around good kid, always respectful.
“There was not an ounce of gang stuff with either one of them,” Hunter said. “He just wanted to be there for his brother, wanted to walk with him to practice to keep him safe.”
Word of the shooting quickly reached the school. Another boy ran the whole way there with the heartbreaking news.
Demario got good grades and didn’t get into trouble, according to Robin Callahan, an assistant junior varsity basketball coach, who said he and his twin are known around school as the “Bailey boys,” hard to tell apart because they’re identical.
“I know I speak for every educator who continuously deals with this type of tragedy in saying we are sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Johnson College Prep Principal Dr. Garland Thomas-McDavid said in an email.
“I speak for every mother who lives on the South Side of this city in saying we don’t mind if it takes [martial law] to get this in order,” Thomas-McDavid said.
Their mother, very protective of her sons, usually drove them most places, according to their aunt. But the boys were getting older and wanted more independence, Fitzpatrick said. On Saturday, she finally let them take the bus to practice.
“She let them go and now …,” Fitzpatrick said, her words trailing off, tears rolling down her cheeks.
School officials said a fund was being set up to help Bailey’s family pay for burial services, and that counseling would be provided for students and staff this week.
A $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest, community activist Andrew Holmes said. Anyone with information was asked to call 1-800-UTELLUS.
“We do so much to keep them out of trouble,” Callahan said. “But this not only tears our school apart, it tears our community apart.”
Officials initially said at least one person was taken into custody after the shooting, but those people had been released without charges as of Sunday morning.