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Fourth sibling to die of gun violence was trying to make a better life, friends say

Ronnie Chambers

Ronnie Chambers

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Updated: February 28, 2013 7:12AM

Chicago’s streets had already claimed the lives of his three siblings. Early Saturday, they claimed Ronnie Chambers, too.

The last of Shirley Chambers’ four children was shot in the head and killed in the 1100 block of South Mozart. He was 34 and had a history of drug and weapons convictions, according to police sources.

“Ronnie was my only surviving son,” Shirley Chambers told ABC7.

His 15-year-old sister, LaToya Chambers, was killed in 2000 near Cabrini-Green. That same year, Jerome Chambers, 23, was shot and killed feet from where his sister died. And in 1995, Carlos Chambers was killed by a fellow student at Jones Metropolitan High School, now known as Jones College Prep.

“What did I do wrong?” Shirley Chambers told the TV station. “I was there for them.”

Ronnie Chambers — known as Scooby — was the manager of an aspiring rapper who goes by the name YK and had recently been on Ricki Lake’s TV show talking about changing his life, according to his longtime friends Nicole and Laverne Smith.

“He was trying to make something of himself,” said Laverne Smith, 30.

He and a group had been at a listening party on the South Side for the rapper, Nicole Smith, 34, said. Someone came up to their van “and gunned him down,” said Smith, who lives on the same block.

She and her sister ran to Chambers and rubbed his hands as he gasped for air.

“We’re here, we got you,” Smith said they told him, but he stopped breathing just feet from their home.

“They were actually trying to come up in the world,” she said of Chambers and YK, saying her friend was trying to overcome a past that the police say included convictions in 1997 for possession of a controlled substance, in 2001 for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and in 2004 for manufacturing and delivering cannabis.

She said she thinks the killer had followed the van carrying Chambers and the rapper and his crew from the listening party and was “trying to knock him down because he was the manager.”

A 21-year-old man was also hit by the gunfire. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, police said.

“I have nobody now,” Shirley Chambers said in the TV interview.

Nicole Smith said her friend’s mother is “way past devastated. That was her last baby.”

The Smiths said Chambers grew up in Cabrini-Green, was the father of several children and, despite his record, wasn’t in a gang.

“When you lose two brothers and a sister, what do you think you do? You have to better yourself,” Nicole Smith said.

“He was beautiful, a sweet person,” Laverne Smith said, crying.

“I just can’t believe it,” Nicole Smith said.

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