Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old Chicago's Kings College Prep student who attended President Barack Obama's inauguration festivities last week, was fatally shot in a park just blocks away from her school Tuesday, news report said.
She and 11 other teens had completed their exams and were seeking shelter from the rain under a canopy, the New York Daily News reports. At 2:30 p.m., an unidentified gunman opened fire on the teens. Pendleton and another young man were struck by bullets. Another victim was grazed on the foot. Pendleton was shot in the back and died at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital, said the report.
Some of the teens with Pendleton under the canopy were gang members, the News said. A police spokesman confirmed Pendleton had no such affiliation. She was an honor student, volleyball player and marching band majorette. Pendleton had also been preparing for a trip to Paris in the coming months.
"All of it just makes no sense," said Pendleton's godmother, Lakeisha Stewart. "She was following (her parents') rules. There were a lot of good opportunities that were coming her way. She was just taking them all. She was the kid who you had to say, 'Slow down, you can't do everything.'"
White House press secretary Jay Carney said the President and First Lady's thoughts and prayers are with Pendleton's family. "Well, it's a terrible tragedy—anytime a young person is struck down with so much of their life ahead of them, and we see it far too often," said Carney. "The president has more than once, when he talks about gun violence in America, referred not just to the horror of Newtown or Aurora or Virginia Tech or Oak Creek but to shootings on the corner in Chicago or other parts of the country. And, this is just another example of the problem that we need to deal with."
Chicago especially has seen a rise in gun violence. In 2012, authorities in the Windy City reported 500 people had been killed. Since the New Year began, 42 killings have been reported there.
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