Chicago police suspect whoever shot Hadiya Pendleton, 15, last month, was targeting a rival gang member when he fired several times and killed her eight days after she performed in the presidential inauguration festivities as a majorette, says the Chicago Tribune. The unsolved crime a mile from President Obama’s family home in neighboring Kenwood has had international attention as an example of the random gun violence gripping Chicago.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police are trying to turn back a wave of shootings that led to 506 homicides last year and 42 more in January, the highest in that month since 2002. First Lady Michelle Obama attended Hadiya’s funeral Saturday, with Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn. The violence is concentrated in certain besieged areas of the city but is rattling neighborhoods in transition just to the north. Many new homeowners in those lakefront communities felt shielded from crime on their periphery, but Hadiya’s slaying has shattered those illusions. “I don’t think any of us should feel safe and secure–as long as it’s nest door, it affects us,” said David Whittaker of the Chicago Area Project, a nonprofit that seeks to reduce juvenile crime through community building.