SOUTH SHORE — When Ciara Bailey talked to her little brother earlier this week, she asked him if he was all right. She had heard his friends were "into it" with another group in their South Shore neighborhood.
But, as always, Cortez Bailey said not to worry. People were just "tweaking," he told her.
"He was always like that," Bailey said of her brother. "He really didn't want us worrying about him, but ... we would worry anyways."
On Wednesday, Ciara Bailey got the call that her brother had been shot.
About 11:50 a.m., Bailey, 23, was standing in the 7500 block of South Yates Boulevard when a gunman walked up to him and shot him repeatedly in the chest, police said.
Bailey was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 12:22 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.
Bailey, the only male and youngest of three children, was no stranger to violence, his sisters said Thursday. Born and raised in South Shore, he had seen people shot before, including his best friend who was killed three years ago.
Just the night before he was killed, Bailey was shot at, Ciara Bailey said.
Over the years, the violence has seemed to inch closer and closer to her family, the sister said.
"Every time someone's got shot, it's always closer to home. But this is home," she said. "It hit home."
Bailey said family members rushed to the hospital when they heard the news her brother was shot. After doctors notified them Bailey was dead, his mother asked if they could reattach him to the life-support machines, just to see if they could bring him back.
Bailey's mother, who asked that her first name not be used, remembered her son Thursday morning as smart and handsome. He was a loving uncle who was always available to baby sit, his sisters said, and his mother said Bailey was a "respectful kid" even if he got "too involved with the world."
She said she now joined so many other mothers who had lost children to gun violence in Chicago and wanted it to stop.
"It's affecting the mothers, the sisters, the aunties ... It's affecting the families, and I don't know how we can stop it but I know we have to put in the effort," she said.
Bailey's mother said that effort includes everything from police street cameras to getting community members involved to prevent the "vicious cycle" that she said led to her "baby boy being gunned down in the streets in broad daylight."
"Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to keep him," she said.
Ciara Bailey said so many names and stories were "floating" around the neighborhood that she might never find out who killed her brother or why.
And although she wants to see her brother's killer brought to justice, she said that will not bring Bailey back to her.
"That was our little baby," she said of her brother. "We always said no matter how old he gets, he'll still be our baby."