After taking their school exams Tuesday, Hadiya Pendleton made the decision on Tuesday to hang out and celebrate the end of finals at a public park on Chicago’s south side.
The gathering ended in bloodshed as the the 15-year-old King College Prep sophomore was fatally shot just about a week after she performed at President Barack Obama’s inauguration with her school’s band.
According to the Chicago Police Department, Penldeton and a 16-year-old boy wounded in the attack were shot in a park near the school about 2:20 p.m., in the 4500 block of South Oakenwald Avenue.
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that “most of those who were in the park were gang members, and those in the group did not stay on scene to help after the shootings”, according to their police on-scene interviews.
The shooting that occurred in broad daylight at approxiamately 2:20 p.m. in the 4500 block of South Oakenwald Avenue, took the life of Pendleton immediately on-site.
The boy, also wounded in the shooting but still alive remains in serious and critical condition. According to the girl’s friends, the student was also a student at King.
One of the teens was taken in serious and critical condition to Comer Children's Hospital, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Will Knight.
The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the other victim also was taken to Comer and police at first believed both victims' conditions had stabilized by a little after 3 p.m.
In a show of grief and support at Comer this evening, a group of young people sat and stood inside the hospital's emergency room, along with the principal of King high school.
Pendleton’s parents remained in tears as students and the school’s Prinicipal attempted to console them.
"She (Pendleton) was awesome," one girl said of Pendleton outside the hospital's ER.
Friends of the slain girl said King was dismissed early today because of exams, and students went to the park on Oakenwald in a show of demonstration to take back their neighborhood, with one classmate stating, “This gun violence has to stop. I can’t understand why America is not embracing what President Obama is trying to do with gun control. He is trying to make America wake up and realize that people are dying for no reason other than standing in a public park.”
Fatally shot victim Pendleton was noted by numerous classmates to be a majorette and a volleyball player, a friendly and sweet presence at King, which is one of the top 10 Chicago Public School’s selective enrollment schools.
Pendleton performed at President Barack Obama’s inauguration with the King College Prep band.
Before Chicago saw a major rainfall this afternoon, a group of 16 to 20 teens spending time in the park realized they would soon be drenched unless they took shelter under a canopy during the storm.
“A young man then jumped over a fence in the park, ran toward the group and opened fire. Chicago Police Officials said this evening in a public statement.
Many community members have reported hearing shots sometime before 2:30 pm.
A neighbor, not wishing to be identified in fear of retaliation, told officials that she heard six gunshots and called 911.
Neighbors claim as many as 20 young people that had been hanging out relaxing after stressful exams in the small park quickly scattered out of fear after the shooting, though a brave and distraught few stayed behind with the victims.
According to police crime data on public file, no serious crimes have occurred in the 4400 or 4500 blocks of South Oakenwald Avenue in recent months.
Attacks like this are rare in the area, with one long time resident telling reporters “It’s a great neighborhood. Nothing like this has happened since I’ve been here,” on the very block where the shootings occurred, said Roxanne Hubbard, who has lived in the neighborhood for 19 years.
According to The Chicago Board of Education, “As a matter of policy, Chicago Board of Education officials refuse to confirm whether any child is a student at Chicago Public Schools because a policy on student identification passed by the board several years ago has never been put into effect."