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Slain North Lawndale Man Shielded His Girlfriend From Gunfire, Family Says

By Quinn Ford | July 16, 2013 2:08pm
 Family said Ernest Carter, 35, was fatally shot as he shielded his girlfriend from gunfire Sunday night in the North Lawndale neighborhood, officials said.
Ernest Carter
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NORTH LAWNDALE — Angel Terry said the last time she talked to her uncle, Ernest Carter, he was teasing her, something he often did.

She said Carter called her "chimpanzee snot." Terry replied her uncle looked like a "booger."

Then, Carter, 35, told his niece he loved her and got into his car with his girlfriend and left.

Minutes later, Terry said she heard shots near her home, and soon after, someone began frantically ringing her doorbell.

Terry, 19, said she looked out her window and saw Carter's girlfriend, Ramona Milner. Milner was yelling something that Terry couldn't understand.

The teen soon learned Carter and Milner had been shot near a gas station a few blocks from her home.

Authorities said Carter and a woman were inside a parked car about 11:05 p.m. Sunday in the 4000 block of West Cullerton Street when two men approached from behind and opened fire.

Carter was hit in the neck and back, and the 37-year-old woman, who family identified as Milner, was also shot in the back. The two were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where Carter was pronounced dead before midnight, officials said.

Milner was still in the hospital Tuesday morning. Terry and her mother, Shirlene Powell, called Milner to see how she was doing. In a weak voice, Milner told the two she was "all right."

"It just happened so fast," she told Powell.

Milner said Carter reached over and covered her when shots rang out, something his family said shows the kind of a person he was.

Powell, 45, said her younger brother was a smart, caring person who deeply loved each and every member of his family. She said she felt like Carter was more of a son than a brother. Their parents died when Carter was just 3 years old, Powell said.

She said her brother was not perfect. He had been in jail as recently as 2011, she said. Records show he was convicted of armed robbery in 2005, but Powell said Carter had matured since then. She said the father of two had a good heart.

"He was a lovable person," she said. "He loved all of his nieces and nephews, and there are so many of them, you wouldn't think there was enough of him to go around."

Terry and Powell said Carter had been shot in the leg a year earlier just a block from where he was killed Sunday, near 19th Street and Pulaski Road. The two said there were people in the neighborhood who did not like Carter, although they were unsure exactly why.

Powell said her family has always lived on the city's West Side, and there always seems to be bullets flying, no matter what the time of day. She said Tuesday she was fed up with the violence near her home.

"It's terrible," she said. "I'm trying to move from over here because I can't take it no more."

Terry said she and her brother went to the scene of the shooting Sunday to try to find out whether their uncle was all right. Powell said she left work to go to the hospital but was not interested in going to the block where her brother was shot.

"Me, I'm old enough to know when they're gone, they're gone," she said.

That truth is something Powell said her youngest son soon will learn. She said Carter and her 4-year-old son were very close, and the two had made plans to visit her sister this weekend.

She said after family told her son that Carter had died he said he was going to call him to still make sure they were on for Saturday.

"He still thinks his uncle is gonna come and get him and bring him to his auntie's," she said.