CHICAGO – Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl who performed at President Obama’s recent inauguration, was shot and killed in Chicago as she talked with her friends. Witnesses say she and her friends were in a park when suddenly a man opened fire on the group, and Hadiya was shot in the back as she tried to escape. Witnesses believe she was mistaken for the wrong person.
Her father, Nathaniel Pendleton, spoke at a news conference that was held in the same park where his daughter died. He commented, “He took the light of my life.” Then speaking directly to the killer, he said: “Look at yourself, just know that you took a bright person, an innocent person, a non-violent person.”
Hadiya was indeed a bright person. She was an honor student, a contributor to her community, and ironically, a spokesman against gang violence. In 2008, she was featured in a YouTube public service announcement against gang activity. The family and the Chicago police are offering an $11,000 reward for information about the gunman.