Sally Katona-King, Church Deacon, Killed Over iPhone In CTA Robbery

03/30/2011 12:58 pm ET | Updated May 30, 2011

A Chicago church deacon who volunteered in homeless shelters and "would give the shirt off her back" to people in need died Tuesday, after someone stole another person's iPhone at the Fullerton L stop, knocking her down the stairs while he made his escape.

Sally Katona-King, 68, was on her way home from her job as a church receptionist Tuesday when she fell down the stairs during a robbery and suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, the Chicago Tribune reports. She reportedly lost a lot of blood on the scene, and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

"To die over an iPhone? It's senseless," her son, David King, told the Tribune.

Katona-King maintained her generosity and compassion despite several major tragedies in her life, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Her first marriage failed, and her second husband was murdered in an armed robbery in 1971. At 29 years old, she was widowed and raising three children alone, according to the paper.

Jeff Drake, an associate to the Bishop at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church where the victim worked, told NBC Chicago that everyone loved Katona-King, and that she was always happy to help others. She reportedly found the church in the 1980's when her 2-year-old grandson died in a fire, and worked there ever since.

"She loved people," he said. "She cared about everyone."

The iPhone thief who caused Katona-King's death was still at large Wednesday morning. Police issued an alert describing him as a black man between the ages of 17 and 30, standing between 5-foot-6 and 6-foot-4. Police said he weighs between 130 and 210 pounds and was wearing a black hat, blue jeans and a black jacket with the letters "WS" on the back during the robbery. Anyone with information is asked to contact Belmont Area detectives at (312) 744-8262.

Watch another member of Katona-King's church discuss her tragic death here:

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