By Angela Caputo
Atreyu Spears fidgeted anxiously as he sat in the bullpen, a corner of the Cook County courthouse where detainees wait for the bailiff to walk them to the judge’s bench.
The past 69 days had been a blur. After leaving basketball practice on April 9, 2009, the 17-year-old headed to his friend Michael’s house. The two had struck up a friendship back in the third grade when Michael was the new kid in school. He was just one of nearly a dozen boys who lived within shouting distance of each other on a Chatham block packed tight with apartment buildings. Over the years, the group grew inseparable. “We’d hang out, spend the night at each other’s house playing video games, riding bikes, chasing girls,” Spears said.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary when Spears arrived at the aging brick walkup that cool spring evening. He headed upstairs to Michael’s bedroom to shoot hoops on Xbox. Five other teens were already in the second-floor apartment playing video games and watching television. Shortly after, Michael walked one of the boys downstairs.
At the same time, police were responding to a call for gunshots fired in the area. Patrolmen arrived at the building on the 8100 block of South Maryland Street and said they saw two males run inside clutching hand guns.
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