Chicago Teen Killed After Performing At Inauguration Was Victim Of Gang Violence

The 15-year-old girl who was killed just days after performing at President Obama’s second inauguration was a victim of Chicago’s rampant gang violence, authorities told the AP on Tuesday.

Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed on January 29 in a case of mistaken identity; her murderers, 18-year-old Michael Ward, and 20-year-old Kenneth Williams, thought that Pendleton was a girl in a rival gang:

Pendleton, a popular high school majorette, was with a group of friends who took cover during a rainstorm under a canopy in a park about a mile from the Obama home on the city’s South Side. Police said a man hopped a fence, ran toward them and opened fire with a handgun before fleeing in a waiting car. Pendleton was struck in the back and died later that day. Two others were injured.

McCarthy said Ward told investigators he thought he was shooting into the crowd of a rival gang, and that the shooting was meant as retaliation for Williams being shot in the arm in July. Police said neither Pendleton nor her friends were affiliated with gangs.

Gang violence has plagued Chicago over the last year. In January of 2013 alone, the city reported more than 40 homicides.


Pendleton’s parents will be attending the State of the Union on Tuesday night, where the President will likely discuss his recent initiatives to curb gun violence. Among those initiatives is an effort to close the gun show loophole. Criminals in Chicago, and other cities facing the horrors of gang violence, can easily obtain weapons thanks to federal gun loopholes that allow anyone to buy a gun from a private seller without a background check.