A Chicago teenager walking with his identical twin brother to a high school basketball practice Saturday afternoon in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago sacrificed himself to save his brother’s life during an armed robbery not far from their school.
Though this is yet another depressing story about gun violence in Chicago and young African-Americans dying much too soon, a bright light that emerges is the selfless act by a teenager who stepped in to save his brother and senselessly had his life snatched away.
The boys’ grandmother, Bernice Fitzpatrick, 62, told the Chicago Tribune that the boys looked out for one another.
“They were raised to stick together,” she said. “We always said, ‘Take after your brother, look after your brother.’”
Demario Bailey, 15, did just that when he selflessly defended his brother, Demacio, 15, from their assailants. Demario came to his brother’s aid while one of the attackers was on top of him and pushed the man off. Demacio then saw one of the robbers pull out a gun and heard the shot fired.
He thought his brother was behind him as he started to run; but when he checked again, he saw his brother on the ground with a gunshot wound in his chest, the Tribune reported. Demario was pronounced dead moments later.
Carlos Johnson, 17, was charged with first-degree murder and another robbery committed before Demario died that Saturday afternoon, according to Cook County state’s attorney’s spokeswoman Sally Daly.
Deafro Brakes, 17, his brother Tarik Brakes, 16, and Isiah Penn, 17, were all charged Monday afternoon with first-degree murder, attempted robbery with a firearm and robbery, according to a police statement.
It is not clear which of the four suspects is the gunman yet. “Prosecutors stopped short of saying Johnson fired the shot that killed Demario,” the Tribune reports.
“Demario was an excellent child, all my grandchildren are … just honorable children,” Fitzpatrick told the Tribune. “That’s how they were raised. They were raised to be good children.”
The two brothers were extremely close, family and school staff told the paper. Demario was a member of the Marine Corps Junior ROTC program and choir, but was always at his brother’s football and basketball practices and games.
Jack Greenfield, math teacher and football coach at Johnson College Prep, said “(Demario) was like a shadow to (Demacio).”
Ketica Gurter, a history teacher, said, “(Demario) truly embodied the motto, ‘I am my brother’s keeper’.”
Garland Thomas-McDavid, founding principal of the charter school, told the Tribune that her students have had to deal with gun violence since the school opened in 2010.
“It sounds crazy saying it, but kids get shot around here all the time,” she said.
Englewood is consistently one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago, according to CBS Chicago reports. Despite Chicago’s homicide rate decreasing by 17.2 percent from 2012 to 2013, the ten most dangerous neighborhoods (including Englewood) saw a 5.47 percent increase in homicides. Of the 10 neighborhoods with the most homicides, Englewood was one of seven where the number of murders actually increased from 2012 (21) to 2013 (23). Between 2007 and 2013, Englewood was in the top 10 of neighborhoods with the most suicides six of the seven years.
The total number of homicides in 2013 from the top ten neighborhoods for homicides reached 212—11 more than the previous year.
The men who robbed the twins were seen running towards Wabash Avenue, police told the Tribune. They questioned several people and believe the men are responsible for two other armed robberies that occurred the same day they attacked the twins.