Teen attacked, left in coma after walking girlfriend home in Logan Square
BY MITCH DUDEK Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org September 14, 2011 5:38AM
Joel Vasquez holds a photo of Brian DeLeon who was attacked outside Yates Elemetary at 9:13pm last night. His daughter , Dianna, is his girlfriend. | Al podgorski~Chicago Sun-times
Updated: November 10, 2011 9:54AM
Dayana Vazquez knelt by her boyfriend Tuesday night, his face and head covered in blood, and said, “Brian, come on babe, answer me! Respond! Respond!”
Her boyfriend, Brian DeLeon, 14, had been struck in the head — doctors suspect by a bat or a hammer — leaving a hole the size of a silver dollar, police said. It happened about 9:02 p.m. on the 2900 block of West Bloomingdale Avenue in Logan Square.
He was in critical condition in a coma at Children’s Memorial Hospital Wednesday night after undergoing three surgeries as police searched for his attacker.
Moments earlier the teenage couple, whose homes are separated by three blocks, parted ways yards from Dayana’s front door after taking her pit bull puppy for a walk. They had spent the evening together doing homework and playing video games.
Dayana, also 14, made it home and waited for her boyfriend’s regular phone call to say he, too, was home and safe. But the phone was silent.
“I kept calling and calling him, no answer,” said Dayana, who texted Brian twice before she noticed a missed call from Brian and a voicemail. On the voicemail, Dayana said she heard only rap music and someone say the words “Cobra killer.” The Cobras are a gang in the neighborhood.
“I tried to run and find him, but my mom stopped me and made me get in the car with her,” she said.
Her mother drove as the two traced the path back to Brian’s house. About halfway there they spotted him lying on his belly next to the playground of Richard Yates Elementary, where the couple had met as students. A good samaritan, who happened upon Brian about 13 minutes after the attack and dialed 911, stood nearby, police said.
Police do not know why he was attacked. Nothing was taken from him, and no weapon was found. Friends and police say Brian had no gang ties.
But a Chicago Police detective said the incident “is definitely being investigated as a gang-related attack.” The detective, who asked not to be named, said the voicemail on Dayana’s phone is scratchy, but he confirmed he heard music and someone saying the word “killer.”
“Three street gangs occupy nearby blocks. It’s a pretty infested area, they’re always in conflict,” said the detective. He said there doesn’t appear to be any security camera footage of the attack.
Yate’s principal, Harry Randell, whose office is steps from the crime scene, said Brian never hung out with troublemakers.
“He was just an all around wonderful kid. . . . A principal would want 700 of these kids in their school,” Randell said. “His friends were science fair winners, spelling bee winners.”
Randell said Brian, who just began his freshman year at Marine Science and Math Academy, a military academy on the Near West Side, stopped by his old school Monday to say hello to former teachers and show off his new uniform.
“He was very proud of that uniform,” Randell said.
Dayana, despite being in a daze Wednesday, attended classes at Schurz High School. “I was just sitting there, not paying attention. I don’t remember anything,” said Dayana, who left school early to see her boyfriend, but couldn’t see him because of hospital policy.
The couples’ one year, nine month anniversary was Sunday: “He gave me a teddy bear,” she said. She said she had frequently rebuffed advances from gang members who hang out by the corner store beneath her family’s apartment.
She admitted his parents didn’t know the two were together Tuesday night at Dayana’s aunt’s house.
“He told his parents he was playing soccer at Humboldt Park because they don’t approve of our relationship because sometimes we argue, but everyone argues,” Dayana said.
“I hope he gets better,” she said. “He has to. He’s going to.”