Every morning before setting off for a predawn shift that might last 14 hours, Tamiko Talbert-Fleming kissed her husband and said, “I love you.”
He insisted on such goodbyes, even if they were only going to be apart for five or 10 minutes.
“My wife used to fuss with me and say, ‘Baby, don’t tell me that no more,’” Alfonzo Fleming explained Wednesday, a quaver in his voice and tears in his eyes. When she said don’t fuss, he’d tell her, “Nothing is promised to nobody.”
In an eye-watering cold, Fleming stood surrounded by family and friends just a stone’s throw from the Marquette Park salon where Talbert-Fleming was shot Jan. 14 before dawn. She was parking her car and getting ready to cut a client’s hair, her family said.
The shooter opened fire from the backseat of a black SUV at 71st Street and Artesian Avenue, police said. Talbert-Fleming was struck in the head. She died Sunday at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. Police said Wednesday that the case remains under investigation and that no one was in custody.
Two dozen or so friends, family members and local politicians gathered to remember the woman who had recently celebrated her 49th birthday: a mother, grandmother, salon chair counselor and all-around lovely woman, friends said.
“She liked making women beautiful, changing lives one head at a time,” said her “big sister,” TiJuanna Talbert.
There was anger, too, when she talked about her sister’s killing.
“They say this is God’s will. This was the devil. Every shooting is the devil. It’s not God’s will,” she said.
Supporters fanned out around the nearby community Wednesday with flyers offering a $15,500 reward. Anyone with information is asked to call or text Chicago police detectives at 312-747-8380.
Talbert-Fleming’s husband said he couldn’t imagine life without the woman he called his best friend. He said there was always something about the nature of everyday life that made the two of them laugh — and laugh.
“This is the worst feeling anybody wants to go through,” he said. “I can’t go to sleep at night. Everything in the room I pile on the bed to make me think she is lying next to me — just to touch something.”