Community leaders make appeal for help in solving Hadiya Pendleton killing
BY TINA SFONDELES Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org February 1, 2013 12:38PM
A memorial for Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed in under the capony in Harsh Park. Friday, February 1, 2013. l Brian Jackson~Sun-Times
Updated: March 3, 2013 6:10AM
Chicago’s top cop and pastors on Friday kept up pressure to find the killer of Hadiya Pendleton, who has quickly become the face of Chicago gun violence.
“Be courageous and do the right thing,” the Rev. Ira Acree said.
The reward has been raised to $40,000 to help find the 15-year-old’s killer.
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said he hopes the reward will bring results.
“If that doesn’t do it, then maybe we should look at our consciences,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy called out to the person who may have driven the shooter away to do “the morally correct thing” and step forward with information.
He praised community members for going out to pass out flyers to prompt people to call the police with information.
“The fact is we need more help,” he said.
Rev. Acree urged the community to cooperate with police. He said he welcomes additional police officers who will patrol the streets but said it’s time for the community to police itself.
“This is a civil community, and unless the rest of us speak up and be courageous and do the right thing, we will let a minority cause us to all live in fear,” he said. “…Anyone who is harboring a shooter in their home, whether it’s relatives or friends, you are just as guilty as the person who pulled the trigger.”
Just after the reward was announced, dozens gathered outside King College Prep before marching to the park where Hadiya was killed near 45th and Oakenwald. A small makeshift memorial of a pink elephant and pink roses marked the spot.
“This child lost her life over a senseless killing. Key word senseless,” Melvin Haynes said behind a Ceasefire banner. “…If you know who did it, tell somebody. We don’t care if the reward is $30,000 or $50,000. We want the killer. We want the killer, not for the money. We want the killer.”
Fifteen-year-old Shontae Hall, one of Hadiya’s best friends, wiped away tears: “She was like my sister. I was just talking to her on Monday. I was just with her.”
“We did everything together,” Hall said. “She was like my number one. She was amazing.”
Hadiya attended President Barack Obama’s inauguration last week, performing as a baton-twirling majorette with her King College Prep school band at a party sponsored by U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis. The teen condemned gun violence in a 2008 public service announcement.
“Every tragic loss of life is heartbreaking, but what makes the murder of Hadiya such a travesty is that she was a young sprouting acorn, bound to be a tall oak tree in our community,” Acree said. “And we will never see the impact that she was going to make.”
Police have encouraged anyone with information on the shooting to call (312) 747-8383.
Hadiya’s wake and funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Feb. 9 at Greater Harvest Baptist Church, 5141 S. State. The family chose the church because it can accommodate between 800 and 1,000 people.