A 15-year-old girl who performed at President Obama's inauguration last week was shot dead Tuesday while hanging out with friends in bullet-scarred Chicago.
Hadiya Pendleton was standing under a canopy in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park when a gunman ran down an alley, opened fire at the group and fled in a white car, police said.Pendleton was shot in the back but managed to run about a block before she collapsed, officer Laura Kubiak said. She died at the hospital.
A 16-year-old boy was wounded in the 2:20 p.m. incident. Police said Pendleton, who had no criminal record, was probably not the intended target.Friends of the young majorette described her as a bubbly, well-liked student.
“She was always smiling and laughing,” said Tyler Genovesi, 14. “She was just a really nice person. … There’s a lot of people crying in school today. It’s very sad. The band is playing for her right now.”
On Twitter, Pendleton’s schoolmates were decrying the loss of innocent life.
“You are more than loved and missed,” one wrote. “Your laugh smile and silly happy personality has made my day more times than I can remember. Nobody deserves this, especially not you.”
The shooting happened in an upscale neighborhood where residents were shocked.
"I was torn apart," said Robin Hollis, who lives across the street from the park. "I cried when I heard about it."
Pendleton's murder was one of three shooting deaths in the city on Tuesday. More than 40 people have been shot dead in Chicago since the beginning of the year. The city leads the nation in guns seized by police.