By Peter Nickeas
3:34 PM CST, January 1, 2014
The body was covered by a white sheet and hard to see in the snow that had fallen all New Year's Eve.
An officer lifted the sheet and relatives in a car near the yellow crime tape started sobbing. One of them stepped out and cried, “Ooh. That IS him.”
Vincent Rogers, 26, was apparently the last homicide of 2013, a year that saw more than 400 of them.
Police say Rogers was standing outside a food mart in the 7100 block of South Vincennes Avenue in the Englewood neighborhood around 8:20 p.m. Tuesday when someone walked up and shot him in the head.
The gunman then ran south and shot a 23-year-old man in the hip before fleeing south again and firing at police who were talking to people on the street.
Not long afterward, Rogers' father Vennie Rogers, 51, showed up with other relatives. The snow kept falling, pooling on the back windows of their cars, as Rogers called other family members.
“I’m at the crime scene, son. I’m at your brother’s crime scene,” he said, a cigarette bouncing as he spoke.
After the call, Rogers asked, "Did they get any ID off him or anything? Tell me something.”
Then he took another call from his son. “You keep your head up, OK? You man. Keep your head up.”
A police van pulled up to remove the body, blocking the family's view.
At a gas station next door, a crowd gathered and peeked through the fence. “Who that is bro? It’s (him)? You flexin!” a young man said.
On the white backs of signs at the edge of the parking lot, gang signs had been scrubbed over but not erased.
Officers lifted the body up a short metal staircase set on the back bumper of the van. They faltered at the top step until an officer inside lifted up the end of the bag and slid the body inside.
Blood was pooled on a sidewalk in a five-foot circle across the sidewalk and into the parking lot.
After the body was gone, a forensic investigator searched for evidence in the ice and snow, a tub of hot water next to him.
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