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Teen Tries to Cope After Watching Her Uncle Kill Her Father

By Erica Demarest | February 26, 2013 6:07am
 Ronald Peters (right) was fatally shot by his brother Jan. 25, police said.
Ronald Peters (right) was fatally shot by his brother Jan. 25, police said.
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ENGLEWOOD — It's been a month since Ronisha Campbell says she watched her uncle shoot and kill her father, and the 17-year-old student still can’t bear to go home.

“I’ve been staying with my best friend,” she said. “I’m moving in with other family.”

On a quiet, dead-end street in Englewood, the front door to Campbell’s house hangs open. She points to the run-down family home and says her dad, Ronald Peters, was born there.

On Jan. 25, he was fatally wounded there.

According to police, Larry Peters, 63, shot his brother Ronald Peters, 50, twice with a shotgun about 3 p.m. in the 5800 block of South Shields Avenue. Larry Peters turned himself in to police at the scene. He has since been charged with first-degree murder and awaits trial.

Campbell, who lived at 5832 S. Shields Ave. with her father and uncle, said she witnessed the shooting.

“My daddy told [my uncle] to stop banging on the wall, so [my uncle] came downstairs with a shotgun,” Campbell said. “I went to the back porch. [My dad] was like, ‘You gonna shoot me? You gonna shoot me?’ I asked him, ‘You gonna shoot my daddy?’”

Larry Peters shot Ronald Peters once in the stomach, Campbell said. Ronald Peters then ran outside, where, according to neighbors’ accounts, he begged for his life.

“Then [my uncle] stood over [my father] and shot him in the chest,” Campbell said.

Ronald Peters was taken in critical condition to Stroger Hospital, where he later died, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

Campbell said her father and uncle argued from time to time, but she never saw either pull a weapon.

Neighbors on the residential street, which sits just west of the Dan Ryan Expressway, called the shooting unexplainable.

“There’s no problems on this block,” said Bert Johnson, 47, a longtime resident. “No one really knew [Larry Peters]. He just stayed in the house. … Out of a week, you’d see Ron’s brother [Larry] maybe once.”

Those close to Ronald Peters described the home care aide as caring and “free hearted” — someone who often ran errands for elderly neighbors.

“This first thing he’s going to do when he sees you is start cracking a joke,” Johnson said. “He was funny. Always funny. ... You’d never hear him arguing or getting smart."

According to Campbell, Ronald Peters was a homebody who liked to “have a beer, watch TV and go to sleep” when he got home from work. Campbell said she often shared meals with her father, who loved to cook “all kinds of food, especially ethnic food."

Neighbors called Ronald Peters a friend to everybody on the street.

“He had this thing he would do whenever he saw one of us getting into the car to go to the store or get some beer,” Johnson said. “He would say, ‘Hold up, wait a minute. Stop the car, and let me in it.’”

Johnson laughed as he recalled the memory: “[Ronald] was a good guy. He wasn’t no bad person. Everybody knew him. He had a lot of friends.”

“[My father] was caring,” Campbell said. “Even if you didn’t like him, he would make you want to like him just by making you smile, making you laugh.”

Larry Peters was ordered held without bail Jan. 27. He will appear again in court on March 14.