A 14-year-old boy was in a coma early Wednesday after being brutally attacked in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood while walking home from his girlfriend's house.
Brian DeLeon, a freshman at Phoenix Marine Academy, had been studying with his girlfriend Tuesday night and was walking in the 2900 block of West Bloomingdale Avenue when he was hit in the head with a "bat or a sledgehammer," police told the Chicago Sun-Times.
DeLeon's girlfriend told NBC Chicago that she was talking with the youth on his cell phone when she heard some commotion, then silence. When she found DeLeon, he was lying on the ground with a massive head wound. Police initially thought the boy had been shot due to the size of the wound.
According to the Chicago Tribune, DeLeon was in a coma at Children's Memorial Hospital Wednesday and is about to undergo a second brain surgery. He is listed in "grave" condition.
Fausto DeLeon, the boy's father, told the Tribune his son was not involved in gangs, and he has no idea why someone would attack him. Yates Elementary School Principal Harry Randell told ABC Chicago that the boy stopped by his elementary school to visit last week--and to show off his new military school uniform, which he was very excited about.
“He was just an all around wonderful kid — the kind of kid a principal would want 700 of these kids in their school,” Randell told the Sun-Times, adding that DeLeon avoided troublemakers. “His friends were science fair winners, spelling bee winners.”
Neighbors told the Tribune that gang members regularly hang out in the area.
"It's horrible, absolutely horrible. Kids nowadays it seems have no consideration for life," neighbor Kevin Lobianco told ABC. "To do that to a 14-year-old kid, or even an adult for that matter, it's crazy. It really is nuts."
No arrests have been made as of Wednesday afternoon, but police hope a surveillance camera near Mozart Drive and Cortland Street captured someone leaving the scene, the Tribune reports.
“He is a straight kid,” Shakespeare District police Capt. Marc Buslik told the Sun-Times. “It appears he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s a real shame.”