A 15-year-old girl who performed at President Obama’s inauguration last week was shot dead Tuesday while hanging out with friends in bullet-scarred Chicago.
Hadiya Pendleton — described by a relative as a “walking angel” — was standing under a canopy in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park when a gunman ran down an alley, opened fire at the group and fled in a white car, police said.
Pendleton was shot in the back but managed to run about a block before she collapsed, officer Laura Kubiak said. She died at the hospital.
A 16-year-old boy was wounded in the 2:20 p.m. incident. Police said Pendleton, who had no criminal record, was probably not the intended target.
“As usual, the bad guy aims, but he never hits the other bad guy . . . He hits the one that hurts the most to lose,” the victim’s godfather, Damon Stewart, 36, who is a police officer, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
“I changed her diapers, I played with her growing up. My heart is broken.”
A sophomore at selective King College Prep High School, Pendleton had traveled to Washington to perform with the school marching band at inaugural events.
“It was the highlight of her young 15-year-old life,” Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said Wednesday at a Senate hearing on gun violence.
“Just a matter of days after the happiest day of her life, she’s gone.”
Cousin Shatira Wilks said the upcoming inauguration trip was the talk of a family gathering around New Year’s, but the young majorette was even more excited about something else: plans to spend the summer studying in Paris.
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