Another promising young life has been snuffed out by Chicago’s gun violence, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who had performed at President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony less than 10 days earlier. The teenager was with her friends early Tuesday afternoon in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park, when a gunman opened fire in the group’s direction and fled the scene.
Pendleton was shot in the back and ran for about a block before collapsing, according to reports from police. She later died at Chicago Corner Children’s Hospital. Another boy, 16, suffered a gunshot wound to the leg during the incident.
An honor student at King College Prep High School, Pendleton took part in the inauguration ceremony with the school’s band last week. Authorities say that she was not involved in gang activity nor was she the target of the attack. But police also said that the other teens who were shot at are not cooperating with the investigation.
“It looked like there were innocent kids, to the best of my knowledge, innocent kids in the park and somebody comes up and does something like this. It doesn’t make any sense,” local resident Joe Thomas told ABC News.
Forty-two homicides have been reported in Chicago during this month alone, a continuation of the extreme violence seen last year, when more than 500 homicides occurred. Over the weekend, another seven citizens were gunned down, including a 16-year-old boy who was shot dead in a double homicide. While Washington’s gun debate seems to revolve around Newtown, Conn., Chicago loses dozens of young lives to gun violence every year.
“There seems to be a consensus now among law enforcement, and as this consensus among Americans that the reason ability of the gun laws has to be examined,” Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told ABC.