Chicago Teen's Shooting Called Gang-War Mistake

Hadiya Pendleton was in 'wrong place at wrong time': police
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2013 6:37 AM CST
Updated Jan 31, 2013 7:46 AM CST
Chicago Teen's Shooting Called Gang-War Mistake
This undated family photo provided by Damon Stewart shows 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton of Chicago.   (AP Photo/Courtesy of Damon Stewart)

(Newser) – The Chicago teen who was killed days after performing in President Obama's inauguration may have simply been in the "wrong place at the wrong time," Chicago's police superintendent says, calling the shooting a matter of "mistaken identity." The shooting, police believe, was part of a turf war among gangs, but Hadiya Pendleton herself had no gang links—nor, it appears, did any of those with her that day. The gunman, however, seemed to confuse the group with gang members. In other details from the case:

  • Hadiya was a band majorette at the elite King College Prep; she hoped to go to Northwestern University, the Chicago Tribune reports.
  • A friend of Hadiya rejects reports that the teen's friends abandoned her as they ran. "A man came up and shot at us about five times," the friend tells the Chicago Sun-Times. "We were running at about the same pace, and Hadiya said: ‘I think I got shot,’ and slowed, then fell." A nurse who lived nearby arrived on the scene. "She told me to hold Hadiya’s hand, and I had her head in my lap," the friend said.
  • There were no bullet casings on the scene, suggesting the shooter may have used a revolver. Officers are offering an $11,000 reward for information leading to the shooter's arrest, adds the Christian Science Monitor.
  • "This guy, whoever he was, the gunman ... you took the light of my life," says dad Nathaniel Pendleton. "Just look at yourself and just know that you took a bright person, an innocent person, a non-violent person."
  • The shooting prompted Telemundo to ask President Obama whether tight gun control laws like Chicago's really worked. "The problem is that a huge proportion of those guns come in from outside Chicago," he said, per the Tribune.
(Read more Hadiya Pendleton stories.)

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