Students and teachers at Johnson College Prep joined hands Tuesday to remember Demario Bailey, the 15-year-old who was fatally shot while trying to protect his twin brother, Demacio, from robbers in Chicago.
The gathering, decorated with balloons, cupcakes and bright posters, was more than a memorial for the slain teen — it marked the twin brothers’ 16th birthday.
Friends recalled how Demario would make them smile even on their worst days. Teachers and administration spoke of the teen’s maturity and his flattop haircut. And his mother, Delores Fitzpatrick, vowed to shuttle students at the school to and from extracurricular activities out of concern that another parent could lose their child to the South Side streets.
From The Chicago Tribune:
“My baby didn’t make it to the end of the tunnel,” said Delores Fitzpatrick, standing in front of the crowded but silent cafeteria. “…That’s all I ask for. Get these babies back home to their mothers (because) I wouldn’t wish this on nobody.”
Her son was fatally shot during an attempted robbery Saturday afternoon as he walked with his twin brother through a long, dark passage under a viaduct along 63rd Street on their way to basketball practice at Johnson College Prep.
Fitzpatrick also talked to the crowd about Demario and Demacio’s own experience with loss — their father was killed in 2000, leaving Fitzpatrick to raise two boys alone.
When it was her turn to speak, Delores Fitzpatrick told the students that she had been a young mother who became emotionally overwhelmed after having two babies at once. The boys’ father was killed in October 2000 when they were toddlers. That left her a single mother with three young babies at home.
“I thought my life was over,” she said.
But the twins made the journey easy.
“I am nothing without my boys,” she said. “…Demario and Demacio made me happy everyday…”
Fitzpatrick told the students to love each other as much as they could.
“It means so much to me that y’all loved on my babies,” she said. “The ones that did this did it because nobody loved them.”
Friends, mostly sophomores like Demario and Demacio, spoke highly of the teenager.
“He was a very good friend to me and to everybody,” said Davion Ramsey, 15, who paused as he choked back the tears and tried to compose himself. “When I heard the news, it just tore me apart. I couldn’t do nothing but cry.”
Demario stood out at his school in part because both he and his brother towered above many of their classmates, the students said. The two boys stuck together and delighted in being twins. Sometimes Demario would take off his glasses in hopes his teachers would mix him up with his identical twin.
Yet he also showed a compassionate side. When he heard that any of his classmates were struggling, he made sure he’d reach out and try to brighten their spirits.
“We got to be strong for him,” Devon Davis, a 16-year-old junior, told the students. “They thought this would tear us apart, but it’s brought us closer.”
Then Davis addressed both Demario’s brother and mother.
“You lost one brother, but you have gained so many more,” he said. “Ma, I promise you, (Demario) lives through me.”
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