5 charged in shooting death of 13-year-old

October 14, 2011 8:18:07 PM PDT
Five people have been charged in the murder of a Chicago teenager. Darius Brown, 13, was shot to death while playing basketball in a South Side park.

Aramis Beachem, 22, Jamal Streeter, 18, and Vito Richmond, 17, are all facing first degree murder charges in connection with the crime. Clarence Whitelow, 29, was charged with unlawful possession of firearm by a felon after investigators say he loaned the shooters one of the guns used. Dekalb resident Michelle Lawrence, 21, was charged with insurance fraud.

Police say they are looking for one other suspect in the murder.

For the first time, Brown's parents and family saw the suspects allegedly responsible for killing the 13-year-old.

"I just want to thank everyone who had a part in this, just to bring these guys into custody. So that's one step...it's a bittersweet day," said Stephanie Brown, mother.

"It was really hard for me and my family. We stuck together, got it done," said David Smith, father.

"Darius had a passion for what he loved to do. He had a dream and he didn't want to give up on that dream. And because of that, he inspired us all," said Mary Ellis, grandmother.

Prosecutors say the suspects fired into a crowded Metcalf Park while trying to hit a rival gang member. It was retaliation for a young woman's murder just days before.

"Once at Metcalf Park, Richmond and the front passenger co-offender fired into the crowd of people including the 13-year-old victim," said Thor Martin, assistant Cook County State's Attorney.

The attack was caught by security camera. Some say that, along with a hefty reward, helped break a code of silence.

"Somewhere along the line, they may have been involved," said Andrew Holmes, community activist.

Darius was gunned down on August 3 as he played a pickup game of basketball with his friends. The unintended target died only hours later.

The Holy Angels eighth grader, who went by the name "Bay Bay," idolized Bulls star Derrick Rose and hoped to one day play in the NBA one day.

"It deeply affects all of us when a child is the victim of senseless violence. It is our hope that these charges will bring some level of comfort to the Brown family and also to the community that was shaken by this horrific event," said Thomas Byrne, Chief of Detectives Chicago Police.

Police say they recovered the gun they believe was used in the shooting.

A judge set bond at $2 million for Beachem and Richmond. They are due back in court next month.

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