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Mom of 4 murdered children: ‘We need tougher gun laws’

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Updated: March 1, 2013 7:23PM

After losing a daughter and two sons to gun violence, Shirley Chambers prayed and dreamed her only surviving child would grow to be an old man.

But on Sunday evening, a day after her 34-year-old son, Ronnie, was shot and killed, she was coming to the awful realization that she would need to buy another set of flowers on her regular visits to see her children at Burr Oak Cemetery.

“I’d pray for God to protect Ronnie and keep him safe day and night,” said Shirley Chambers, a cashier at a downtown Portillo’s eatery who recently took her son into her apartment on the Near North Side because he was having financial troubles.

Ronnie Chambers was the manager of aspiring rapper YK, short for Yung Killa. On Dec. 17, they were featured on an episode of “The Ricki Lake Show.”

He told the TV host that his siblings’ murders — and his own long arrest record — prompted him to “do something different.”

His mother said Sunday her son was following through on that pledge and turning his life around, but she was concerned about his association with YK.

“I really started to worry about Ronnie when he got involved with this rapper, because I saw what happened on TV with that rapper on the South Side getting killed,” said Shirley Chambers, 54, referring to the September shooting death of rapper Joseph ‘Lil JoJo’ Coleman.

Ronnie Chambers was shot about 2:15 a.m. in the 1100 block of South Mozart after attending a downtown “listening party” for YK.

Ronnie Chambers was in a van after dropping off a friend’s son when someone opened fire, hitting Ronnie Chambers in the head and wounding another man in the van.

“He didn’t have no beef with nobody,” Shirley Chambers said. “We need tougher gun laws, where people will know they will be in prison for a long time if they choose to pick up a gun and take a life.”

Ronnie Chambers’ friend, Nicole Smith, said her son was safely in the home when they heard the gunfire.

“I told everybody to get down on the floor,” Smith said.

She said people called 911 and waited for an ambulance while they tried to comfort Ronnie Chambers, whose nickname was Scooby.

“We kept saying, ‘Breathe for us, Scoob,’ ” she said.

Smith said she thinks someone followed Ronnie Chambers from the downtown party to “get him.”

Shirley Chambers raised her four children in the Cabrini-Green public housing complex on the North Side.

Her 23-year-old son, Jerome, was shot to death outside a Cabrini-Green building in 2000. Two months earlier, a 13-year-old boy gunned down her 15-year-old daughter, LaToya, nearby.

In 1995, a 16-year-old boy fatally shot her 18-year-old son, Carlos, on a sidewalk in the South Loop. They both attended Jones High School.

“I can’t take it any more. I need help,” Shirley Chambers said. “If anybody’s out there who knows what happened to my baby, they need to talk.”

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