Just one week after performing during President Barack Obama’s inauguration in Washington, DC with her high school band and drill team, a 15-year-old student was shot and killed on the South Side of Chicago.
The Chicago Tribune reports that shortly after completing exams, Hadiya Pendleton and fellow students from King College Prep High walked to a nearby park. The shooting attack occurred around 2:20 p.m., wounding Pendleton and an unnamed 16-year-old boy. The teens were separately rushed to Comer’s Children’s Hospital and initially their conditions were said to have stabilized around 3 p.m. The boy, which students say attended King College Prep, is currently listed in serious condition.
Further reports from authorities say that Pendleton was among 12 teenagers who took shelter in the park from heavy rain when an unknown assailant leapt a fence and began firing in their direction. The man then fled the scene in a vehicle. Police say Pendleton was most likely not the intended victim. The park, nestled in a low-crime neighborhood, was populated by gang members that day further reported the Tribune. A witness heard gunfire before calling 911, with many in the group fleeing after a reported six shots rang out.
Pendleton was a majorette in the school’s band and also a volleyball player. Beloved by her fellow students, her parents were surrounded by her friends and fellow students in a show of support. “She was awesome,” said one friend. Police have questioned others in the group regarding the case, but so far none are cooperating with the authorities.
Pendleton’s death brings the numbers of homicides for Chicago to 42, making it the deadliest month in 11 years.