Girl who performed for Obama shot dead

2013-01-30 22:07

Chicago - A 15-year-old girl who performed at President Barack Obama's inauguration last week was shot dead in Chicago by a gunman who opened fire on a group of kids hanging out in a park, police said on Wednesday.

"It is believed that the offender mistook the group for gang members and fired at them," Chicago police office Laura Kubiak told AFP.

Hadiya Pendleton - described by a relative as a "walking angel" - was sheltering from the rain under a canopy with about 10 or 12 other teenagers on Tuesday when the gunman leaped over a fence, opened fire and then jumped into a getaway car at 14:30.

Her friends scrambled in fear and did not stay to help Pendleton or the two boys were were also injured, Kubiak said.

"As usual, the bad guy aims, but he never hits the other bad guy," her godfather, Chicago police officer Damon Stewart, lamented to the Chicago Sun-Times.

"I changed her diapers, I played with her growing up. My heart is broken."

The park where Pendleton was shot is about a 1.6km away from Obama's South Side home.

Chicago is struggling to control an epidemic of gang violence, which helped push the city's murder rate up 16% to 506 people in 2012. The city has already logged more than 40 murders so far this year.

The shooting also comes as the nation is embroiled in a debate over gun violence in the wake of the massacre of 20 young children and six staff members at a Connecticut elementary school.

The White House said on Wednesday that Obama - who has often spoken of the need to address the less spectacular but far more deadly gun violence on the streets of Chicago and other cities - is praying for Pendleton's family.

"It's a terrible tragedy any time a young person is struck down with so much of their life ahead of them, and we see it far too often," spokesperson Jay Carney said.

"And as the president has said, we will never be able to eradicate every act of evil in this country, but if we can save any one child's life, we have an obligation to try when it comes to this scourge of gun violence."

Pendleton was a majorette in the King College Prep school band, which brought her to Washington for the inauguration. She was hanging out with other members of the volleyball team when she was shot in the back.

"She was an honour student all her life," cousin Shatira Wilks told the Sun-Times.

"Honestly, she was a walking angel. She never once gave her mom any problems ever."

  • Hasani P - 2013-01-30 22:19

    Ag shame may her soul rest in peace

      Jack - 2013-01-30 23:19

      Have you noticed the number of gun deaths since Obama decided to go after the gun owners. Surely a pure coincidence?!

      john.buang.39 - 2013-01-31 07:53

      Its called something like selective media attention based on what they deem is news-worthy ... what about the other more than 40 murders in Chicago this month ? All terrible ! This particular victum was an innocent bystander ... and so young ! Human beings are the most violent and destructive of species - always have been and always will be.

      stirrer.stirrer - 2013-01-31 09:54

      Jack, Obama is not "going after gun owners". He wants to ban assault rifles and high capacity magazines, both which are meant for attack, not defense. These have no place in the hands of private citizens.

      Eduannn - 2013-01-31 10:11

      stirrer - Chicago already have those laws in place! What now? See my post further below.

  • gary.wawn - 2013-01-30 22:50

    This is truly tragic... I feel the increasing violence in the world is as a result in stable families being on the decline. With the economy as it is, both parents are normally required to work to survive, resulting in kids being placed in public care a lot earlier. This is found especially in the poorer areas. This places the child in an environment where they learn to find self worth based on peer acceptance rather than other means. The most influential people in these childs lives become their peer group, which is really a gamble. The parents do not know if these peers are being a good influence or a bad. Normally by the time these parents find out, their child is already down that road. A lot of children get into gangs this way. Also if they do not receive peer recognition, then they find themselves unwanted, and their existence unjustified. This allows instances like Sandy Hook to occur. Also with teen pregnancy at such a high rate, kids are having to raise kids, causing more disorder in the family. This results in more kids who are undisciplined influencing other kids who are more prone to getting influenced due to them basing so much value on peer acceptance. If you grew up in a strong home with strong parents, count yourself blessed. I was fortunate enough to have strong parents, which allowed me to overcome the lack of peer acceptance in my early years. I really do appreciate the effort they placed in me. I am who I am today because of them.

      hugh.robinson.56 - 2013-01-31 17:23

      Thank you parents of Gary.wawn for one so wise as to see past the PC excuses for a failed humanity

  • Jason Lok - 2013-01-30 23:37

    hey obama stop meddling in other countries policies, u n ur awful gov r spendin too much time fightin extremism elsewhere, not realising its breeding rite @ ur doorstep--one more stat, sincere condolences to her famly

      jt.thom.3 - 2013-01-31 14:15

      WTF are you talking about?

      Small.Mbongwa - 2013-02-01 17:31


  • stuart.warren.5 - 2013-01-31 05:41

    Tragic - looks like the inalienable right to bear arms will soon be alienated

  • simphiwe.charlie.5 - 2013-01-31 06:38

    What's really tragic is that it seems most Americans still think guns are good. When will they ever learn? (and don't say it's not the guns fault, this guy coult not have done this without one).

      craig.king.7505 - 2013-01-31 06:59

      Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws in the USA.

      simphiwe.charlie.5 - 2013-01-31 08:44

      Obviously not tough enough.

      fishycraig - 2013-01-31 09:30

      Tough on legitimate gun owners but non-existent for criminals. And that is the problem with gun control.

      seanrossouwslr - 2013-01-31 09:51

      Gang violence. Since when do gangsters use legal guns?

      johan.mostert.967 - 2013-02-01 09:07

      Ever heard of a knife?

  • luna.moon.5243817 - 2013-01-31 08:27

    gun happy US of A!!

  • zapadela.tistarocha - 2013-01-31 08:37

    Fedocracy rules.......RIP Angel

  • bone.marrow.501 - 2013-01-31 08:52

    What's e conspiracy theory here

  • mfundo.makapela - 2013-01-31 09:01

    So there you have it.Contrary to popular believe,we are not the world's crime capital after all!

      deon.louw.7505 - 2013-01-31 09:37

      Yes we are second to Columbia, but behind Irag and Aghanistan where a war is going on.

      deon.louw.7505 - 2013-01-31 09:42

      Above I and A.

      sango.jika - 2013-01-31 11:03

      America and mexico they are topping the list of having the most dangerouse cities in the world. When they kill they don't kill one person they kill everyone who is in the room.

      xolanit.ntuli.9 - 2013-01-31 11:21

      Same as Cape Town gang stars

      sango.jika - 2013-01-31 11:29

      @xolani I agree cape town is a gang capital in SA.

  • Eduannn - 2013-01-31 09:53

    luna.moon "Chicago has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country: No assault weapons are allowed, handguns were banned until the Supreme Court ruled such a ban unconstitutional in 2010, and those seeking a handgun permit must undergo an arduous background check." “Chicago has very strict gun control and was the murder capital of the U.S. last year, over 500 people were killed. Why is it that the people who are for gun control don’t want to go to Chicago to find out why gun control has failed so much?” Taken from a USA website. More information to ponder for the liberal left, anti-gun, anti-death penalty, flowerpower hippies of yesteryear.

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2013-01-31 10:27

    Just another tragedy in gun loving America.

      Eduannn - 2013-01-31 11:09

      From the same USA website: Chicago police reported the seizure of 7,400 guns last year, which, according to the Washington Times, is almost double New York’s confiscation rate in the same time frame. Did not help much did it? Rather find a solution for this problem: "Criminals will almost always target who they perceive as weak" I know I would personally prefer to live in a street where my law-abiding neighbours ALL own a firearm, but with our new gun control laws that seems impossible.

  • rob.vanjou - 2013-01-31 10:28

    And what good is praying going to do? Same as needs to be done here, clean up the streets! Zero tolerance approach to gang memebers.

  • mfumbayelangabi.silwane - 2013-01-31 10:49

    America will never be a good example

      TheBigTT - 2013-02-01 06:06

      no but it sure is a hell of a lot safer than living in SA. And according to the stats far safer than the UK as well.

  • sango.jika - 2013-01-31 11:24

    Americans love guns, even those RAP stars own guns who are not legal.

      tess.miller.94043 - 2013-01-31 16:18

      This girl I think was one of the New pop Idols in the beginnings of going to Hollywood, she was on our S A TV On America's Pop Idols and got through to the next round going to Holleywood

      sadiemy - 2013-02-01 08:26

      A gun is not a "who". It is a "that".

  • joshua.sematla - 2013-01-31 12:17

    Let's invade America and fight gun obsessed american extremist..they are a threat to world peace,lol..that's what american gov would say if it was another country

  • noscelo.xhasa - 2013-01-31 14:05

    she never gave her mom problem,she was in majorettes in her school,she was a walking Angel to her famaly,she perfomed in the Inaguration of Pres Obama,volley ball member. this is terrible. to me she was a shining Star someone saw that coming.

  • christiana.vespucci - 2013-01-31 14:16

    Gosh these Americans are like "gun happy" bafoons. Wy did the offender Leap over in the first place and decide "hey let me take the law into my own hands" he could've called the could've called the cops if they really looked like gangsters. This is just an excuse. This barbarian was using. And here I thought south Africans were retards. (okay. Well we do have retards living here, but atleast we know the motive of the killings). There these people just use "self-defense" or "they were gangster" (as in this case). Only because they wanted to go on a killing spree, to feel how their gun works.

      TheBigTT - 2013-02-01 00:43

      It's a shame that the news shown in SA concerning the US is so biased that its giving the world such a biased,ignorant and totally incorrect view of how it really is. The same type of news that led the world to believe that every white South African was a black hating racist. There are still people in the US that call my SA family racist. But wow, what a generalization of all Americans coming from a country with a small percentage of population compared to the US yet a crime rate that towers that in the US. I lived in the US for 30 years, never saw anybody murdered and I only know 1 individual personally killed in cold blood. I lived in SA for 5 years and saw more than one person laying in the street murdered and I could damn near fill a page with the names of people I knew who were murdered. And the girl I knew here was raped and strangled, no gun involved. I am a US citizen and a firearm owner. I will not seek out trouble, I will run from it. If I can't run away from trouble I will pull my firearm and defend my family.

  • flysouth - 2013-01-31 14:33

    "CHICAGO — Not a single gun shop can be found in this city because they are outlawed. Handguns were banned in Chicago for decades, too, until 2010, when the United States Supreme Court ruled that was going too far, leading city leaders to settle for restrictions some describe as the closest they could get legally to a ban without a ban. Despite a continuing legal fight, Illinois remains the only state in the nation with no provision to let private citizens carry guns in public. " Why do lawmakers determinedly ignore the fact that criminals do not obey laws? This determined ignorance seemingly allows them to then ignore the requirement to deal with criminals properly. But it is easy to make useless and ineffective laws which penalise only the law-abiding. It is hard to catch criminals and politically sensitive to deal harshly with them.

      simphiwe.charlie.5 - 2013-01-31 15:44

      The biggest fly in your argument is that most gun deaths are caused by people who did not have a previous (gun related) criminal record.

      TheBigTT - 2013-02-01 00:27

      Simphiwe, as always you're so wrong it's laughable. You are far more likely to be killed by a criminal convicted of serious crimes than you are by someone who snaps one day and goes on a rampage. You missed the point. Guns have been outlawed in Chicago for years yet it is one of the most dangerous cities in the US. And they don't just kill you with a firearm in that city.

  • Krysis.hXc - 2013-01-31 19:30

    thats an assassination if i ever saw one. 'oh you`ve seen our behind the scenes, we`ll have to kill you now'

  • caine.abel.75 - 2013-01-31 21:32

    The only way out is to rid the world of the useless brainless destructive humans lets go back to a time where these type of beings would simply be put down

  • TheBigTT - 2013-02-01 06:05

    Very sad story for a girl who could have had a promising future. Despite what the media wishes you to think, most of the US is still amongst the safest places in the World. As I'm typing this my child and his friends are in my unfenced front garden building a snowman, unsupervised. There are numerous parks that I can take my family to without worrying that we might be shot. How many of you talking crap about the crime rate in the US can say that about your residence? Sure there are crime ridden areas in this country but at least I can escape those areas and live in a home not surrounded by razor wire, iron bars and armed response. What the media also doesn't tell you is in thoseworst parts of the country most deaths DO NOT occur with a firearm. Take it from somebody who has lived in both the US & SA. Don't get me wrong, I love the SA! I get back every chance I get but when I'm there I can't ignore the extra safety measures that still don't make it near as safe as living where I do in the US. Having said that I legally conceal a firearm at times because as good as it is here, it's not perfect and I want to have the ability to defend myself and family with a firearm if needed. I'm no cowboy, I will never go looking for trouble. In fact it's the opposite, I will run from trouble if I can but if I can't, I want to have the option of using my firearm to protect my family, even though it's hundreds of times more likely that I will be killed by a car than a gun.

  • ChiomaDidiOkoro - 2013-02-01 08:54

    This is ridiculous, how do a bunch of 15 year olds look like a gang. America has got a long way to go with getting their Gang epidemic in check. that's if it will ever happen. This is very sad man.

  • kerahdah - 2013-02-01 21:15

    Jason Lok touches on a very relevant aspect of the American condition. The USA has so many social problems, one wonders why they spend so much time, energy and money fighting in the backyards of countries far removed from their shores. If they put their vast resources to work for the betterment of their own people, the rest of the world might be able to start considering ways to resolve the problems in their own countries.

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