Loved ones and mourners packed a South Side church Saturday morning for the funeral of Demario Bailey.
Demario’s mother and grandmother shared the same message with the crowd, much of which was families of teens who went to school with the 15-year-old: Love your children.
“Just love your babies,” said Demario’s mother, Delores Bailey Fitzpatrick. “They are the world. Y’all want to change the world? The kids are the world. It starts with them.”
Demario and his brother Demacio were attacked after they got off a bus at 63rd and State streets the afternoon of Dec. 13 and walked toward the school for Demacio’s basketball practice. Four robbers approached them in a viaduct and started rifling through their pockets, police said.
Demario pushed one of the robbers off his brother and was shot in the chest, according to police.
Four teens — three 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old — have been charged with murder.
Bailey Fitzpatrick sat at the front of the New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church, 754 E. 77th St., with Demacio and other family near Demario’s casket, open part of the time, showing the teen wearing a bow tie and his school sweater.
Friends and family who were invited to speak during the ceremony shared memories of Demario, who was said to be 6 feet 5 inches tall, teasing his shorter family members. He was remembered as often cracking jokes, but also lending emotional support to classmates and always being “cordial” with girls.
At one point the Rev. John Hannah, who officiated the ceremony, invited all the teens present to come forward and pray, using Demario’s “casket as an altar.”
More than 100 teens gathered on the church altar, where Hannah asked them to keep God in their lives, go forward on behalf of Bailey and take care of each other.
“You are your brother’s keeper,” Hannah said.
Source: The Chicago Tribune