A Cook County judge scowled at the two brothers standing side-by-side in his courtroom Sunday, listening as a prosecutor laid Chicago’s latest tale of shame at their feet.
Career criminals Darwin and Derren Sorrells decided to open fire on a stranger Friday afternoon in the Parkway Gardens neighborhood on the South Side. They missed their target, but their bullets allegedly struck 32-year-old Nykea Aldridge in the head.
The mother of four had been pushing a stroller at the time cradling Da’Kota, the baby she had given birth to less than four weeks earlier. Now, the moment when Aldridge crumpled to the ground beside her baby’s stroller has been captured on surveillance video, the prosecutor told Cook County Judge Adam Bourgeois.
Meanwhile, authorities filed murder charges Sunday against the Sorrells brothers. And Bourgeois glowered at them before he ordered them both held without bail, calling the pair “a threat to public safety.”
The men are accused of committing the murder that has become the latest stain on a city with an unrelenting death toll. Aldridge was the cousin of Chicago Bulls star Dwyane Wade, and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump quickly seized on her murder in a tweet as a reason “African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!” He later offered his condolences.
On Sunday, the city learned the names of the two men accused of gunning her down. Darwin Sorrells, 26, and Derren Sorrells, 22, are recent parolees now charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. Derren Sorrells is an unemployed father of two, records show. Darwin Sorrells has one child and works as a fork-lift driver, an attorney said.
Darwin Sorrells has the Chicago skyline tattooed on his left hand, records show. “God” is tattooed on Derren Sorrells’ right.
“They chose this lifestyle,” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said Sunday. “But they continue it because we continually show them that there is no consequence and they’re going to keep doing it until we show them that we are serious.”
Johnson told reporters he’s “so sick of every weekend talking about the murders that happen in the streets,” and he called again for increased penalties against repeat gun offenders.
The Sorrells brothers took aim Friday at a driver who had been hired to deliver several women from the suburbs to the 6300 block of South Calumet, authorities said. One brother made “eyes” with the driver, CPD spokesman Frank Giancamilli said. He didn’t know “what to make of him,” and he decided to go get his sibling.
The Sorrellses later began to harass the driver, who ran north on Calumet, a prosecutor said. Meanwhile, Aldridge happened to be walking south on Calumet, having just registered one of her children at a nearby school. That’s when the brothers allegedly opened fire, missing the driver but shooting Aldridge in her right arm, right eyelid and the back of the right side of her head.
“She was just another mother who wanted her children to get a good education, just like any parent would,” Johnson said.
The driver ran, hid and called police. He cooperated with investigators and has no criminal background, police said.
Meanwhile, not only does surveillance footage show the brothers armed at the scene, they gave videotaped statements to detectives.
Darwin Sorrells allegedly implicated his brother as the shooter, and Derren Sorrells admitted he pulled his trigger multiple times, the prosecutor said.
This is not the first time Darwin Sorrells has faced an attempted murder charge, records show. But he beat the last one in 2009 and was instead sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison for aggravated battery. Records show he still managed another conviction in 2011 for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, landing a five-year prison sentence then. He was sentenced again in 2014, that time landing a six-year sentence for possession of a stolen vehicle and illegal gun possession. Still, records show he managed parole six months ago.
Derren Sorrells, the younger brother, has a shorter rap sheet. He earned a two-year prison sentence on an escape charge in 2013, and a six-year sentence that same year for aiding in the sale or possession of a stolen vehicle.
Records show he was paroled Aug. 12.
That was 11 days after Aldridge’s daughter was born.
And exactly two weeks before Aldridge would be murdered.
Contributing: Ashlee Rezin, Daniel Brown