Teen killed after sister sat at Obama talk

2013-02-18 09:00
President Barack Obama speaks about the nations struggle with gun violence at an appearance at Hyde Park Academy. (M Spencer Green, AP)

President Barack Obama speaks about the nations struggle with gun violence at an appearance at Hyde Park Academy. (M Spencer Green, AP)

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Chicago - An 18-year-old Chicago woman was killed on the same day her sister sat on the stage behind President Barack Obama, listening to him push for gun control legislation.

Janay Mcfarlane was shot once in the head around 23:30 on Friday in North Chicago, Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd told the Chicago Sun-Times. Mcfarlane, the mother of a 3-month-old boy, was in the Chicago suburb visiting friends and family.

North Chicago police said two people are being questioned in connection with Mcfarlane's death, but no charges have been filed.

"I really feel like somebody cut a part of my heart out," Angela Blakely, Mcfarlane's mother, said.

Blakely said the bullet that killed Mcfarlane was meant for a friend.

Hours earlier, Mcfarlane's 14-year-old sister sat feet from Obama at Hyde Park Career Academy, where he spoke about gun violence and paid tribute to Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old honour student fatally shot last month in a South Side park. Police have said it was a case of mistaken identity, and two people have been charged.

Affected by Pendleton's death

Pendleton's death was one of more than 40 homicides in Chicago in January, a total that made it the deadliest January in the city in more than a decade. Pendleton, a drum majorette, had recently performed during Obama's inauguration in Washington and the slaying happened about 1.6km from his Chicago home.

Blakely told the newspaper that Janay Mcfarlane had been affected by Pendleton's death.

"She always said after Hadiya Pendleton got killed, 'Momma that's so sad,'" Blakely said. "She was always touched by any kid that got killed. She was always touched by mothers who couldn't be there for their babies because they were gone."

Mcfarlane was supposed to graduate from an alternative school this spring, Blakely said, and wanted to go into the culinary arts.

"I'm just really, truly just trying to process it - knowing that I'm not taking my baby home anymore," Blakely said.

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