Ricky Robertson's body still lay on the street as his family gathered in a circle on a front lawn nearby and prayed.
Word had spread quickly among them that Robertson, 47, was killed as he rode his bicycle down the 10200 block of South Green Street in the Washington Heights neighborhood and someone in a passing car opened fire around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
A cousin, Maxine Peterson, 60, said she rushed to the scene after a relative "just told me it was something sad had happened, he had been killed. I just came up here to support my family."
Robertson stood with about two dozen other relatives in a block lined with red and brown brick bungalows, most of them with white trimmed windows and globe lights in their front yards. They were gathered on the lawn of a man who lived in the same home for 46 years.
"Glad to see you," one relative told another, embracing. "Just not under these circumstances."
Peterson would regularly see him on his bicycle when she drove down Halsted Street to her church. "I used to blow the horn at him,” she said. They last spoke about a year ago, exchanged small talk and said they were happy to see each other.
Before his body was removed, an investigator pinched the sheet off and Peterson leaned to her left to get a look at her cousin.
“Oh, Ricky,” she sighed.
Finally, investigators lifted the body into a white bag and onto a steel stretcher and wheeled it to a van.
“I guess they're taking him to the morgue,” Peterson said.
The van's brake lights lit up the edge of the crime scene. An officer lifted the crime tape and the van drove away.
Nine other people were shot across the city Wednesday night, but Robertson was the only one to die of his wounds. Police said no one was in custody. They could not provide a description of the car or the gunman.
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