The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed her identity Monday as Mashell Appleton, 59, of the 900-block of North Kedvale. She died of a gunshot wound to the back, and her death was ruled a homicide.
Next-door neighbor Melly Rivera said Appleton was being picked up by two friends on the way to the three-day convention.
"She becomes a part of your family because you've known her for so long," said Rivera. "And then to know that something like that happens in front of your own house. It's devastating."
Police said Appleton had just gotten into the car around 7:15 a.m. when an armed man approached the driver's side of the vehicle and threatened the passengers with a gun.
As the driver pulled away trying to escape, the would-be carjacker fired several shots into the back of the car, striking the victim. Detectives said the driver finally came to a stop several blocks away.
Appleton was rushed to Stroger Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
"She was there Friday and Saturday at the convention, and Sunday we got the news of what happened," said fellow congregant Brandall at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in the South Austin neighborhood.
Brandall said she was a well-known member of their community and her death is a huge loss.
"It was devastating, yeah, to say the least very devastating," he said.
Rivera said the woman was a big part of her neighborhood as well. She said many of her friends and loved ones won't find closure until the person responsible is in custody.
"To them it's a game and that's what makes it ever more infuriating," Rivera said. "There are people out here that don't value their life. They don't care because they do things like this. For everything there's an action - there's a devastating response to it."