Teen killed in Kenwood 1 week after attending Obama inauguration - New York News

PHOTOS: Teen killed 1 week after performing at inaugural events

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A week after attending presidential inauguration festivities in the nation's capital and with dreams of a summer trip to Paris swirling in her 15-year-old imagination, Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon in the South Side's Kenwood neighborhood.

Police say Hadiya was shot in the back at a neighborhood park about 2:30 p.m. in the 4500 block of South Oakenwald. She had just finished taking her exams at King College Prep. A teen boy was shot in the leg and taken to Comer's Children's Hospital in serious condition.

When FOX 32's Darlene Hill exclusively asked Hadiya's mother what she would say to the shooter, she replied with an emphatic, "Shame on you."

"Shame on you," Cleopatra Pendleton said, "What were you thinking, pulling a gun on children?"

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"As usual, the bad guy aims, but he never hits the other bad guy . . . He hits the one that hurts the most to lose," said Chicago Police Officer Damon Stewart, 36, Hadiya 's godfather. "I changed her diapers, I played with her growing up. My heart is broken."

Stewart said Hadiya was a terrific student who had dreams of becoming a doctor or a lawyer.

The shooting happened about three blocks from King, where Hadiya attended high school, played on the volleyball team and was a majorette with the band. The park where she was killed is a little less than a mile from President Barack Obama's Kenwood home.

Last week, Hadiya went to Washington to see Obama's ceremonial swearing in with a group of fellow King students, relatives said. Stewart said Pendleton was extremely excited about her trip to Washington.

RELATED: At least 3 dead, 8 wounded by gunfire throughout city

"She went to the inauguration. She was working on some sort of exchange program, where she was going to go to school in Paris," Stewart said. "She was a great student."

"Believe it or not, her mom was just looking to move to Naperville," said Hadiya's cousin, Shatira Wilks. "Her mom wanted her to take her kids to an even better community and make sure her education is number one. Her daughter has never ever given her mother a problem, this girl was literally a walking angel."

Police say Hadiya was one of about 12 teens who were hanging out under a canopy at the park to avoid the rain when a man jumped a fence, ran toward the group and opened fire. Everyone scrambled, but Hadiya was hit in the back and died.

The gunman got in a car and drove off. No one in the group stuck around to help Hadiya or wait for the police.

Police first thought the teens in the park were gang members.

"None of the individuals in the group who were here in the group were involved in any sort of criminal activity," Supt. Gary McCarthy said. "What we believe happened this is some sort of territory that some gang might call their own."

"By all indications the female victim was an unintended target," a police statement said.

"The school is good but the neighborhood is not," student Anta Nije said. "When we step outside the school, anything can happen to us."

King College Prep made headlines in December when the students staged a protest, a three-hour sit-in about the school's after school policy. They no longer allowed the students to wait in the school for their parents to pick them up. One classmate told me she would still be alive if the school doors were open.

CPS officials told FOX 32 News Tuesday night that after the sit-in, they changed their policy. They now allow students to wait inside the school for their parents to pick them up - but many do not.

"I'm not worried about where she is going, but I miss her," Hadiya's father Nate Pendleton said. "A whole section of my heart is gone."

"Just look at yourself and know that you took a bright person, an innocent person and a non-violent person," Nate said in a plea to the gunman to turn himself in.

Nate Pendleton told FOX 32 exclusively that she was a good kid who always did the right thing. He's upset that more isn't being done to stop the senseless shootings in Chicago.

"Get the guns out of the hands of people that don't need to have them," Pendleton said.

About 50 friends and family gathered for support Tuesday evening at Comer's Children's Hospital.

"She's a huge reader, loves stories and novels and was naturally smart, always on the honor roll," Wilks said. "She was caught up in the violence of the city."

Hadiya, who attended grade school at Providence St. Mel, lived in Bronzeville with her mother, father and younger brother, relatives said.

Residents on the block where Hadiya was killed expressed shock.

Robin Hollis, who has lived across the street from the park for about 20 years, said the park has "always been a quiet place."

The reward is $24,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible for Pendleton's death. The amount of the reward has increased from Wednesday when it was $11,000.

Community activist and priest Father Michael Pfleger spoke at the same news conference. He urged anyone who knows anything about the deadly shooting to tell police.

"If you wanna shoot, if you want to kill, your butt needs to be in jail," Pfleger said.

Students at King College Prep decorated Hadiya's locker Wednesday and said a special prayer in her honor.

"We have to stop the violence we have to save our children," says King High School Principal Chante Higginbottom. "Our children are safe in school but we want them to be safe outside."

Hadiya's death raises fresh concerns about gun violence. Last year the number of Chicago homicides topped 500 and there have already been more homicides in the city in January - 42 - than in any January in more than a decade.

The Sun-Times Media Wire and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

A local community organization is offering a $1,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.

 

Chicago police told FOX 32 that the 15-year-old victim had no arrest history, and no connection to gangs.

 

Police said preliminary information indicates that most of the people in the group she was with were gang members, and that none of them stuck around to help her, or give police any information about what they saw.

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