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Monday, January 23, 2017

The Demacio Bailey Murder Case: Living and Dying in South Chicago

     Johnson College Prep, a charter school on Chicago's South Side, a place of learning and hope for students preparing for higher education, exists amid ignorance and violent crime in Englewood, one of the city's worst neighborhoods. Parents who have children in the school, founded in 2010, support it in many ways that includes active membership in the PTA. Unfortunately, there is nothing these dedicated parents can do about Chicago's violent crime and high murder rate.

     In December 2014, identical twins Demario and Demacio Bailey were sophomores at Johnson College Prep. Demacio played on the junior varsity football and basketball teams. His brother was in the school's Marine Corps Junior ROTC program and was a member of the choir. The twins had a 3-year-old brother and a brother who was 19 and attending Northwestern Illinois University. The Bailey twins were outstanding students with bright futures.

     The twins' mother, aware of the dangers of living on Chicago's South Side, drove or escorted her sons everywhere. As time went on, however, the boys wanted more freedom. As a result, they were allowed to get themselves to school on their own.

     On Saturday December 13, 2014, the twins, en route to Demacio's basketball practice, boarded the No. 29 State Street bus that took them to 63rd street a few blocks from Johnson College Prep. They got off the bus at half-past noon and were walking through a dark viaduct toward the school when they were approached by four young street thugs intent on robbing them.

     When Demacio refused to hand over his coat, a fight broke out. Demacio ended up on the ground with one of the assailants on top of him. Demario yelled, "Get off him!" and pushed the robber off his brother. One of the attackers pulled out a handgun. As Demacio ran from the scene, he heard a gunshot. When he turned to make sure his brother was fleeing with him, he saw Demario lying on the ground. The robbers had run off toward Wabash Avenue.

     Paramedics pronounced Demario Bailey dead at the scene from a bullet to his chest.

     That Saturday evening, just hours after the robber shot Demario Bailey to death near the charter school, police officers arrested 17-year-old Carlos Johnson at his home six blocks from the murder scene. An assistant Cook County state's attorney charged Johnson with first-degree murder and robbery with a firearm. The judge denied the suspect bail. On Sunday, the prosecutor charged the other three suspects with murder. According to reports, the teens, just before Demacio Bailey's murder, robbed two other people.

     The principal of Johnson College Prep, in a press release, called for Martial Law on Chicago's South Side to deal with the out-of-control crime and violence.

     Martial Law was not imposed, and violence in the city increased. In 2016, 762 people were murdered in Chicago. That year in New York, the nation's largest city, there were 334 homicides. Also in 2016, 4,368 people were shot in the nation's most violent city.

     As of January 2017, none of the teens charged in the Demacio Bailey murder have been brought to justice. 

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