A 15 year-old honors student and majorette who took part in events at President Obama’s second inauguration, was shot dead in Chicago on Tuesday.
Police say Hadiya Pendleton was shot in the back in a South Side park and died at a city hospital. Pendleton was one of about 12 teenagers sheltering from heavy rain under a canopy when a man jumped a fence, ran toward the group and opened fire. The man fled the scene in a vehicle. No arrests have been made.
Pendleton belonged to the King College Prep High School band, which performed at several inaugural events in Washington, D.C.
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who was seriously injured in the mass shooting that killed six people in Tucson, Ariz., two years ago, testified today at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence.
"Too many children are dying," she said. "We must do something."
President Obama presented a plan for reducing gun violence in the wake of recent mass shootings. "This is our first task as a society: Keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged. And their voices should compel us to change," he said.
The murder toll in Chicago for January now stands at 42, making it the most deadly start to the year in more than a decade — and the month isn’t over yet.
The murder rate in the Windy City is the highest in the nation, even though Chicago has strict gun control laws that make legally owning a handgun virtually impossible.
In the past decade, more people have been killed in Chicago than have died in the entire American military campaign in Afghanistan.
From January 2003 to Dec. 31, 2012, 4,797 people were murdered in Chicago, including 516 last year. Since Operation Enduring Freedom began in Afghanistan in October 2001, 2,166 have died there. The Chicago total is also larger than the 4,422 Americans killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom, which lasted from March 2003 to December 2011.