Cops: Mistaken ID led to Logan Square beating

September 21, 2011 3:33:25 PM PDT
As a 14-year-old Chicago boy remains in a coma, another teenager is charged with beating him.

Police say they believe the attack was a case of mistaken identity.

Because the victim is a juvenile, Children's Memorial Hospital in Lincoln Park would not release Brian DeLeon's condition. He has reportedly been in a coma since the brutal beating last week. Now, police say they believe they have the teen responsible.

The attack happened as DeLeon walked home from his girlfriend's house in the Logan Square neighborhood. Neighbors are concerned about their own children.

"I have been keeping an eye on my three kids a lot more. I don't let my 8-year-old daughter walk around the street anymore, even to play with her friends two doors down," said neighbor Kevin Lobianco.

Esteban Miranda, 19, was charged with attempted murder and armed robbery. Investigators say the suspect thought DeLeon belonged to a rival gang, but police say he is not a gang member. His neighbors welcomed word that investigators had a break in the case.

"I think it's great that they caught the person because sometimes it's hard to find the person who did this," said Mariam Jackson.

DeLeon just started high school at the Phoenix Military Academy. Police say DeLeon was likely hit with a heavy object, perhaps a baseball bat or sledgehammer.

"It doesn't mean when you catch somebody, especially with all the things that go on around here, it's gonna stop it, but you know it's gonna start giving people answers," said Larry White, neighbor.

Long-time resident Maribel Cardona describes the gang activity as being a problem in the past but says it has improved in recent years.

"I think having more police around and stuff like that and the cameras they've put around, that has helped a lot, too, because we didn't have anything like this before around here," said Cardona.

"The people that did it, I hope they get charged, you know, and that justice gets played out," said Claudia Salgado, neighbor.

"Our hearts have gone out to the family and to him, and we just hope that he gets better," said Katherine Raz, neighbor.

Miranda is also accused of stealing DeLeon's cell phone. Police say DeLeon was talking on that cell phone to his girlfriend when the attack happened. Miranda is due in bond court Wednesday.

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