CHICAGO (CBS/AP) As one family grieves the beating death of 16-year-old Fenger High School honor roll student Derrion Albert, two mothers confront the charges their sons face and images of their alleged brutality that were captured on cell phone video.
The video, now widely circulated, shows Albert's brutal beating death as he walked into a melee, allegedly two gangs fighting, on a Chicago street. The video shows a group striking him with boards and kicking him as he lay on a sidewalk.
Now the mothers of two of the four boys charged with Albert's murder are speaking out and one can't bear to watch the video.
"That's Gene. That's my son," said Eugene Riley's mother, Sherry Smith, to the Chicago Tribune. "I'm not going to lie about that." Smith offered her condolences to Albert's family.
Riley, 18, has been charged with first-degree murder with three other teens: Silvonus Shannon, 19, Eric Carson, 16, and Eugene Bailey, 18
Silvonus Shannon's mother, Tamaray Shannon, told the Chicago Tribune she could not bear to watch the video, which purportedly shows her son stomping on Albert's head.Early Show Video: Cell phone captures brutal beating.
"Silvonus is not a bad kid," she told the paper. "He was protecting himself. Silvonus is not what they are making him out to be."
Albert's grandfather, Joseph Walker, also could not watch the tape.
"I don't think I have watched that tape yet. I don't think I'll ever watch it," Walker told CBS' The Early Show. "I wasn't there to protect my grandson so I'll never watch that tape."
The death of Albert, a sophomore at Christian Fenger Academy High School, last Thursday has reignited community outrage over chronic violence involving city students and is putting pressure on school and police officials to address gang problems that often are at the root of such violence. More than 30 students were killed in 2008, according to district figures, and the city could exceed that toll in 2009.
But some community members said the solution lies with parents.
"It is our problem. We have to take control of our children," said Dawn Allen, who attended a vigil at the school Monday, where a group of residents tried to force their way into the school before being turned back by police.
The attack, captured in part on a bystander's cell phone video, shows Albert being struck on the head by one of several young men wielding wooden planks. After he falls to the ground an appears to try to get up, he is struck again and then kicked.
Albert was a bystander and not part of either group.
She said Albert was knocked unconscious when Carson struck him in the head with a board and the second person punched him in the face. Albert regained consciousness and was trying to get up when he was attacked a second time by five people and was struck in the head with a board by Riley and stomped in the head by Shannon, Simonton said.
Desiyan Bacon, Riley's aunt, attended Monday's vigil at the school and said her nephew didn't have anything to do with the beating and was a friend of the victim.
"They need to stop the crime, but when they do it, they need to get the right person," Bacon said.