A 15-year-old student that performed during president Obama's inauguration ceremony was fatally shot in a Chicago park, on Tuesday, January 29.Hadiya Pendleton took part in the presidential festivities as a member of the King College Prep band in Washington.
“It's a terrible tragedy any time a young person is struck down with so much of their life ahead of them, and we see it far too often,” the president's spokesman Jay Carney says in a press conference.
Her death marks the 42nd murder registered in Chicago since the beginning of 2013. Police believe the teenager was shot because the suspect mistook her for a rival gang member.
On Tuesday afternoon, she was walking through the park accompanied by friends from her high-school volleyball team, Chicago Tribune.
They took cover under a canopy when it started raining, before an armed man jumped a fence and opened fire, without asking any questions. Two other boys suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the attack.
Hadiya has been described as an honor student who planned to attend Northwestern University and pursue a career in law, pharmacy or journalism.
“Just look at yourself and just know that you took a bright person, an innocent person, a non-violent person,” her father told the unidentified gunman, in an interview.
“Well, the problem is that a huge proportion of those guns come in from outside Chicago,” president Obama noted.
Asked about the Pendleton case in a recent interview, he reiterated his belief that stricter background checks and a unified system providing information on gun ownership will help prevent similar tragedies.
The issue has been discussed at yesterday's Senate hearing, which I reported about today. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a victim of a mass shooting, advocated stricter gun regulations that would not allow people with mental illnesses to carry weapons.