Murder of Derrion Albert

The murder of Derrion Albert occurred on September 24, 2009, near Christian Fenger Academy High School on Chicago's South Side.

Derrion Albert murder case
LocationNear Christian Fenger Academy High School
South Side (Chicago)
DateSeptember 24, 2009
Attack type
VictimDerrion Albert, 16

Events of September 24


Reports and video footage indicate that Albert was caught in a brawl between two factions of students at Christian Fenger Academy High school, from two neighborhoods, Altgeld Gardens and The Ville.[1][2] His death occurred after he was brutally beaten by several boys with pieces of a railroad tie.[3][4] Police initially arrested four individuals, Silvonus Shannon, Eric Carson, Eugene Riley, and Eugene Bailey, who were charged with first-degree murder.[5] Charges were later dropped against Bailey after further investigations.[6]

By 2011, five individuals had been convicted of Albert's death and sentenced to varying terms in prison: Shannon, Carson, Riley, Lapoleon Colbert, and a minor whose name was not publicized.[7]

Public response


The amateur video footage of the beating, obtained by Chicago television station WFLD, was widely broadcast in both traditional and online media.[8] Largely resulting from the widespread circulation of this video, the story attracted much national attention within the United States, leading President Barack Obama to send U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to Chicago to discuss youth violence with Mayor Richard M. Daley.[9] Secretary Duncan was also interviewed by Anderson Cooper on the cable news channel CNN regarding violence in Chicago.[10]

The murder and its subsequent coverage form an important part of the 2011 Steve James documentary The Interrupters, which profiles the work of the antiviolence organization CeaseFire.[11] Rapper Nas also wrote an open letter to the Chicago youth. The letter can be found on Rap Genius.[12] The murder also inspired a heartbreaking 2014 short film - written, directed and executive produced by first-time film director Derrick Sanders - called Perfect Day. The film starred a young Daniel Kyri (Chicago Fire TV series) as a Derrion composite called Desmond, and was co-produced by Jessica Estelle Huggins, and co-executive produced by Chadwick Boseman. The film was dedicated to Derrion's memory.[13]

See also



  1. ^ "4 Teens Charged In Boy's Brutal Beating Death". WBBM-TV. September 28, 2009. Archived from the original on October 7, 2009. Retrieved October 8, 2009.
  2. ^ "Official: Suspect admits role in beating death of Chicago teen". CNN. September 29, 2009. Retrieved October 8, 2009.
  3. ^ "Teen's beating death puts pressure on officials". NBC News. September 28, 2009. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
  4. ^ "Chicago police seek 3 more in teen's death". CNN. September 29, 2009. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
  5. ^ "4 Teenagers Charged in Youth's Beating Death". The New York Times. September 29, 2009. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
  6. ^ Maureen O'Donnell and Rummana Hussain (September 29, 2009). "Freed Fenger suspect's mom: I knew it wasn't him". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 2.
  7. ^ "32 Years For Last Derrion Albert Killer". August 29, 2011. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  8. ^ Honor student fatally beaten (TV-video). CNN. September 29, 2009. Retrieved October 8, 2009.
  9. ^ "Holder, Duncan plan to fight Chicago teen violence". The Associated Press. October 7, 2009. Retrieved October 8, 2009.[dead link]
  10. ^ "Video: Anderson interviews Sec. Duncan on the violence in Chicago". Anderson Cooper 360°. CNN. October 8, 2009. Retrieved October 8, 2009.
  11. ^ Azmat Khan (September 21, 2012). "Derrion Albert: The Death that Riled the Nation". FrontLine. PBS. Archived from the original on July 3, 2012. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  12. ^ Nas – Open Letter to Young Warriors in ChicagoExplain (Sep. 2009)
  13. ^ 'PERFECT DAY' Archived January 17, 2021, at the Wayback Machine, Queens World Film Festival website, no date listed, Retrieved September 4, 2020