WEST LAWN — Leticia Rodriquez ran out of her home after hearing a gunshot and found her brother lying dead a few steps from their West Lawn house.
"I pulled off his hoodie and there was a hole in his head. I knew he was dead already," Rodriquez said. "It was so heartless."
On Monday, Rodriquez, 27, and her brother Jose Rodriquez, whom she called "John," had returned home from going out to eat after spending the day together. That evening, she sat on her porch with her dogs after the meal when four men approached asking for her brother.
"They wanted to come in but when they saw me they didn't want to come in anymore," Rodriquez said Wednesday afternoon, remembering the horrific night. "They asked for him to come out."
Rodriquez knocked on the window of their home and called for her brother. She assumed her brother knew the men when they told him, "Come on, let's talk. Let's go down the block."
She stood on the top stair of the porch and watched as her brother and the men talked down the block. After the conversation ended, Jose Rodriquez began to walk back to home. The sister walked inside not knowing this would be the last time she saw her brother alive.
"It was so loud," Rodriquez said describing the sound of the gunfire that rang out just moments later. "We thought someone had come in the gangway, so we came out."
That's when she saw her brother's lifeless body lying on the sidewalk. She ran to him, but it was too late.
"I tried to move him, but when I pulled the hood off his head there was a big hole in his head. I knew he was dead already," she said.
"I was in shock. I couldn't believe it. I still don't believe it. I was still hoping they were going to have an ambulance come and take my brother away and save him," she said.
Police responded to calls of a shooting about 7 p.m. in the 6000 block of South Talman Avenue and found Jose Rodriquez shot once in his face, authorities said. Rodriquez was pronounced dead on the scene about 7:15 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.
No one is in custody, but police are investigating whether the shooting was gang related. Rodriquez, of the 6000 block of South Talman Avenue, had documented gang ties, police said.
David Figuera, Leticia's husband, said Jose Rodriguez "wasn't a gang banger — he just hung around everybody."
"He just had a lot of friends. He grew up with a lot of the guys around here, but he wasn't a gang banger," said Figuera.
On Wednesday afternoon, friends and family embraced outside the home fighting back tears. They dropped off candles and flowers at a memorial standing outside the front gate of the house.
"We've had people coming from tire shops and strangers from blocks away paying their respect," Figuera said. "Even to strangers he would lend a hand. He was a well-liked guy. He was the community's son."
Leticia Rodriquez, Figuera and friends huddled around a cell phone wiping off rain drops that fell onto the screen. They were entranced as they watched a video of the slain Rodriquez dance on the screen from a party few weeks ago. Written on candles lit inside the small memorial was the message "R.I.P. the Juke Master" — a reference to a nickname given to Rodriquez because of his love for dancing.
"He used to juke, break dance. Whatever kind of music was playing, he was trying to get in there and he was the life of the party," Figuera said.
Figuera slowly ran his fingers over the wood on top of the memorial where "R.I.P. John" was written in black spray paint. He stopped and pointed to a small candy called "Pelon."
"It means baldy," he said. "We used to call him that for his bald head."
Figuera continued his tour of the memorial by sliding his fingers between two small transparent cups — one cup filled halfway with Hennessey and the other with tequila. His son, who had been kicking a soccer ball in the front yard moved by his side. Figuera clutched him closely as he carefully lifted a picture of Rodriquez attached to the front cover of a video game.
"It's FIFA 14. He would always play this with him," Figuera said releasing his son to run down the sidewalk to the boy's mother.