Chicago Violence Claims Honor Student Who Was Inaugural Performer

Wednesday, 30 Jan 2013 03:08 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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A 15-year-old honor student who had just performed with her high school band at President Barack Obama's second inauguration last week was shot and killed Tuesday on the south side of Chicago.

Hadiya Pendleton, also a volleyball player and majorette at her school, was with about a dozen other teenagers who were seeking shelter from the rain under a canopy in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park, just blocks from the high school, around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

An unidentified suspect hopped a fence, ran up to them and opened fire, according to CBS News' Chicago affiliate. The attacker then got into a vehicle and left the area, police told the Chicago Tribune.

Witnesses told CBS that the group scattered when the six shots were fired, but Pendleton and a 16-year-old boy who was also shot collapsed about a block away. Most of those who were in the park were gang members, and those in the group did not stay on scene to help after the shootings, police told the Tribune.

Pendleton was struck once in the back, and died at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital less than an hour later. The boy who was shot was struck in the leg. He also was being treated at Comer Children’s Hospital, according to CBS.

Jennifer West, who lives near where the victims fell, told CBS that shootings are rare in the neighborhood.

“We hardly have any crime," West said. "There’s been a few break-ins over the past two years since we’ve been here, but nothing that’s ever caused alarm."

But statistics tell a different story. The shooting is just one incident in a string of gun violence that has rocked the Windy City, which is grappling with a soaring death toll — more than 500 homicides last year and at least 40 killings already in 2013, according to the New York Times.

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