CHICAGO (STMW) — The brother-in-law of state Sen. Napoleon Harris III was murdered in Chicago, family said.

Andre Bunton, 37, was sitting in a car about 11:25 p.m. Thursday in the 200 block of East 16th Place when shots were fired. At least one bullet struck him in the chest, authorities said.

Bunton tried to drive away from the scene but lost control of the car, striking two parked vehicles, said Police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro.

On Friday, friends and family gathered at Bunton’s family home in Dolton to grieve. Current and former employees of a Harvey pizza place owned by the Harris family, where Bunton was a manager, also gathered to share stories of a man described as handy, hardworking and “the life of the party.”

“He was always the guy people called for help with something,” said Jonathan Harris, Bunton’s brother-in-law and the state senator’s brother. Harris pointed to security cameras Bunton had helped install at the pizza place as just one example.

The state senator could not be reached Friday. Jonathan Harris said Napoleon Harris III, who represents portions of the south suburbs, was devastated by his brother-in-law’s death. When the state senator was in Springfield, it was Bunton who helped Napoleon Harris’ wife take care of the kids, Jonathan Harris said. And Bunton and the Harris family had known each other as teens at Thornton High School, Jonathan Harris said.

Sean Rogers, 36, Bunton’s friend for about 15 years, and Jonathan Harris said Bunton had been in Chicago visiting friends. He’d had dinner near where he was shot, both men said. Just before he was shot, Bunton was on the phone and the person he was speaking with heard a commotion and then the sound of gunfire, Jonathan Harris and Rogers said.

Jonathan Harris said Bunton had a brand new Mustang convertible and had the top down to enjoy the summer night.

“We think maybe somebody just tried to carjack him,” Jonathan Harris, 31, said. “He wasn’t the type of guy to be getting into it with people.”

Friends and family said they were shocked by what they called “senseless violence” and the death of a man soon to be a new father.

“Now you can’t even feel comfortable and safe anywhere,” Jonathan Harris said.

Meanwhile, Napoleon Harris III, former Northwestern and NFL linebacker, has dabbled in firearms legislation, introducing a pair of initiatives not favored by gun-rights advocates. Neither was given Senate hearings and remain bottled up.

One would require gun owners to carry $1 million liability insurance policies to cover damages from the “negligent or willful” misuse of their weapons.

The other would authorize the open carrying of guns, which gun-rights groups regarded as a “sarcastic” response to their successful concealed-carry push this spring.

No one was in custody as Area Central detectives investigated.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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