Boy, 14, Brutally Beaten In Logan Square

UPDATED 09/14/11 9:33 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Police are searching for a brutal attacker, who clubbed a 14-year-old boy in the head on a Logan Square neighborhood street as he walked home from studying with his girlfriend.

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the victim was on life support Wednesday, after he was beaten with a bat or sledge hammer around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday in the 2900 block of West Bloomingdale Avenue.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

The stretch of Bloomingdale Avenue where the crime happened is a desolate side street resembling an alley, with the embankment of the now-unused Bloomingdale railroad tracks on one side, and the Yates Elementary School on the other. It is on the cusp between Logan Square and Humboldt Park.

The principal at Yates, 1839 N. Richmond St., identified the boy who was attacked as Brian de Leon, one of his past students, who he says was bright, loving, and wouldn’t hurt a fly.

“He graduated near the top of his class; he was just a wonderful, wonderful, loving young man; a child any principal would love to have 800 of,” said Yates principal Harry Randell.

Brian was one of a kind, according to principal Randell, who just saw him on Monday. He said Brian – now a freshman at Phoenix Military Academy, 145 S. Campbell Ave. – came by his old school to show off his new ROTC uniform.

“Words can’t express how we all feel,” Randell said. “We’re just I’m praying that he pulls through if at all possible.”

Joel Vasquez, the father of Brian’s girlfriend, told CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot that all he’s been doing is praying for Brian’s recovery.

“I’m sad myself; my wife. It’s heartbreaking you know,” Vasquez said. “He’s a very nice kid, smart – always dedicated to school.”

Brian and his girlfriend, Diana Vasquez, had been doing their homework together before the attack. After they finished studying, Diana walked with Brian halfway to a nearby playground.

After that, she went home and waited for him to call and tell her he got home safely. He didn’t.

“I called him and called him … and he didn’t answer,” she told CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman. “I checked my voice mail and I showed my brother … he was like ‘Run, hurry.’”

She checked his route home and found him lying on the ground, bleeding from the head. Another man who was already at the scene had called 911.

That man – who asked to remain anonymous – said it was upsetting to see the boy on the ground, as he looked like he’d been shot.

“He was a little kid, very young,” he said. “I thought he was shot.”

The man waited with Brian for help to arrive, then Diana showed up.

“I just saw him laying on the floor,” Diana said. “I ran to him … I’m like ‘Wake up, babe … hold on, they’re coming.’”

Brian had a silver-dollar sized hole in his head from being hit with either a bat or a sledgehammer and his injuries were so severe, that police initially thought he had been shot, the captain said.

The boy was rushed to Children’s Memorial Hospital, where he was on life support Wednesday evening. Diana said he’d had four surgeries for his injuries.

No weapon was found at the scene and police said they did not know the motive for the attack, as Brian had no criminal history and no gang affiliations.

Following the attack, neighbors were distraught, angry and afraid.

“I’ve got nine grandkids,” said neighbor William Morales. “So far, I just hope he makes it, and someone who saw it says something.”

A neighbor who didn’t want to show her face said it was quiet in the area Tuesday night until about 20 police cars showed up.

“Oh my God, it’s horrible, horrible, just horrible,” she said. “You don’t want to think things like this happen where you live.”

Another area resident, Nicolette, said she was both angry and afraid.

“I’m pretty shocked; I mean, you’ve got a school right here, and I mean, this is ridiculous. I walk through here every morning. This scares me,” she said.

Robert Cole, who works at an electrical company, nearby says his cameras caught some movement and people around the time of the beating. He is handing the video over to police.

“It’s senseless. Senseless,” he said.

Those who knew Brian say they can’t believe such a good kid is now fighting to live.

“I’m surprised, because he went to high school. It’s his first year; he’s a freshman, did good in school,” one boy said.

Principal Randell’s voice was urgent as he pleaded for someone to come forward.

“Whoever saw anything or did anything to my child, Brian, please come forward and tell the police. Please, I beg you,” he said.

Meanwhile, investigators are going door-to-door talking to neighbors to see if they saw or heard anything.

  • dooinok

    People don’t understand….these are just for fun attacks. It’s not always a robbery…..or gang retaliation. There is a growing evil element that thrives on bringing pain, misery, and even death to others….just for the h*ll of it. If they can make the 10:00 news….mission accomplished. It is scary…..a young generation that is embracing evil and will continue to commit these acts into their adulthood.

    • L. Ron Jeremy

      I am very much an aficionado of karma, and I do believe that the person(s) responsible for this beating will eventually get theirs in due time.

  • LB

    Does a neighborhood bear any responsibility for these kind of attacks? Do the parents of the kids who committed this attack know their kids weren’t home when it happened? Would these kids have committed this crime if they knew that the retribution would come from members of their community as well as the police?

    I am just interested in what the communities role is in this sort of thing. It seems to me that the proactive communities who are up in arms about this sort of violence and who wont accept it, tend to see less of it. Maybe I am wrong.

    I hope the boy recovers, this is terribly sad.

  • CFLC

    Many City neighborhoods are being overrun with a disfunctional mentality that society does not know how to control. This mentality is growing and spreading into other neighborhoods and yes the suburbs. At some point when the city and immediate suburbs become unlivable, society will demand, and even the democrats will agree that law enforcement blitz krieg these areas and take back the city with a military approach. Right now, it’s not against the law to be in a gang, but someday it will. Admit it or not, life in America will be unlivable unless something is done soon.

    • Roberta Waker

      Many areas in the city are now unlivable because of gangs, beatings, rapes, murders and it seems no one can control the crime. The PEOPLE should be responsible for keeping their own neighborhoods crime free. The big problem is they are intimidated, or just don’t care because it doesn’t affect THEM, until a member of their family is beaten or killed. They need to work with the POLICE, who need to have the Judges put these heartless criminals away for a long, long time. As long as this behavior is accepted by society and there is no price to pay; it will not only continue, but escalate to make ALL of Chicago and eventually the suburbs unlivable. Put people to work building more prisons if that’s what it will take. Maybe calling in the National Guard would be a good idea too; at least THEY can get our neighborhoods back and then it’s up to us to keep them as safe as possible. Wake up, people, it’s almost too late.

      • KE

        I think you are right on.

        But there is one other thing that must be done in order for these individuals to stop their behavior — the one thing that they seem to truly understand — you have to “hit them in their pocketbooks”.

  • Taxpayer 2

    You can also blame our judges who makes the final decision when these criminals are caught. So many criminals and even people for that matter are influence with demonic (evil) spirits. We are seeing this more and more evil in our world.

    This fourteen year old boy should have been home at this hour of night or his parents should have pick him up from his girlfriend house. I hope that this boy recover.

    God bless our beautiful, but yet evil world.

  • lyndia

    Who ever did this needs to have the same thing done to them.

  • j

    Corrupt FBI and DEA are using gang members to harass suspects that they had been stealing from. Suspects that had complained about the stealing where targeted.

    • L. Ron Jeremy

      Really? Ever think about taking that story to WGN or the Trib? And I am assuming you have solid evidence to prove your assertion.

  • Lakisha

    Like I expressed before about the two yr old little boy who was killed by his dad. I will say this we need to start standing up and making domestic violence relevant. This is not a game nor should it be swept under the rug. We as god people should making these women who are in these types of relationships aware of this ugly thing. If you know someone that you think might be in this type of relationship please give them my web address thank you

  • Police Detain ‘Persons Of Interest’ In Teen’s Beating « CBS Chicago

    […] Brian DeLeon, 14, was attacked as he walked home from his girlfriend’s house on Sept.13 […]

  • Blonda

    These people that close their blinds to the street give license for crime to occur out front or across the street. Shine a light and watch out for each other. Call the police when anything that seems wrong is going on.
    Even kids bullying another kid on the way home from school or someone beating their dog. Intervention by the police before there is an actual crime might prevent one. I guess that requires the police to be responsive to community concerns. Hmmmm.

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