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Cops question 2 in killing of 18-year-old in North Chicago

Janay McFarlane her sJayden.  |  Family photo

Janay McFarlane, and her son, Jayden. | Family photo

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Updated: March 19, 2013 6:40AM

The father of an 18-year-old woman shot to death in North Chicago said Sunday he believes the crime was gang-related and that his daughter was an innocent victim.

Janay McFarlane of the 8900 block of South Lowe in Chicago died Friday night, hours after her sister, Destini, 14, who heard President Barack Obama speak at Hyde Park Career Academy about measures to reduce violence.

Authorities said McFarlane was shot once in the head about 11:30 p.m. Friday. She was found in an alley in the 1300 block of Jackson Street in the Lake County suburb.

North Chicago Police said they are interviewing two “persons of interest” in the shooting but have not filed charges. They declined to give details.

The victim’s father, Joe McFarlane, said police told him the assailant was aiming for a man who was walking with his daughter to a store. He said Janay was in North Chicago to visit relatives and to attend a cousin’s performance with a dance group.

“I’m from the streets and from what I can gather, this was definitely gang-related,” McFarlane said. He said his daughter was not in any gang.

The victim attended Hyde Park, left school to have a child and was on track to graduate this June from an alternative school, McFarlane said. He said her baby is four months old and is being cared for by her large and supportive family.

The father of the child had remained involved with Janay and is “very much close to us,” McFarlane said.

Destini was part of a group of teens who sat on the stage behind the president as he spoke at her school, Hyde Park Career Academy, pushing for new gun legislation and paying homage to 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, the South Side girl whose killing made her a symbol of the cost of the violence that’s plagued Chicago.

On Sunday, family members gathered at Janay’s family’s home on the South Side of Chicago, but her mother and other relatives declined to talk.

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