SOUTH CHICAGO — Latoya Smith watched from the front yard of her family's home as police across the street lifted a body bag onto a stretcher just before 8 p.m. Saturday.
In the bag was her little brother, Karl Austin.
Austin, 20, was gunned down in a drive-by shooting as he sat on a porch with friends about 4:30 p.m., officials said. He was dead on the scene.
Police said Austin and two others were shot when a passing car opened fire on the group in the 8600 block of South Kingston Avenue. Austin was fatally hit in his back.
A 29-year-old man was shot in his chest, and a 26-year-old man was shot in his wrist. Both were taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center.
For about three hours following the shooting, crowds gathered around yellow tape and watched as police worked the scene. One officer inspected a black sedan with a damaged back fender where neighbors said the shooter's car rammed as it fled southbound down Kingston.
Police said Austin and the two others wounded in the shooting had gang affiliations, but Smith said her brother never harmed anybody.
"This wasn't the life he was about," Smith said with tears in her eyes. "He wasn't out here selling guns, selling drugs...I know that."
Friends said Austin graduated from Bowen High School and was currently enrolled at Truman College.
Smith said Austin, the fifth of eight children and the oldest boy of the family, was fun and loving and was always there to watch after his nieces and nephews. She said her little brother was "the man of the house."
"Even with us, and we're his big sisters," she said.
Austin's family watched from their porch Saturday as police pulled back the white sheet from his body to search for evidence. Austin's friends asked police why it was taking so long to move his body from where he was gunned down.
Marie Miller, who has lived on the block since 1982, was one of many neighbors who stood and watched as the police worked.
"If I was his mama, I'd be right over there. No one could stop me," she said.
Miller said she was still recovering from the shock of seeing her own grandson, Darrius Boyd, shot and killed on her front stoop in October. Miller and a neighbor discussed what was to blame for the violence: parenting, poor education, the proliferation of guns.
Miller said the neighborhood was not as violent when she first moved in, but things have changed since the city tore down the housing projects like the Robert Taylor Homes.
"There's a reason these kids call Chicago 'Chiraq'," Miller said.