Total Pageviews

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chicago Teen Gun Victim Starred in Antigang Video

Hadiya Pendleton appeared in an antigang video that was filmed in 2008 when she was an elementary school student.

Four years before Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old honors student, was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school on Tuesday, she had starred in a YouTube video urging fellow students to avoid gangs.

The shooting of Ms. Pendleton, who had recently returned with her high school drill team from Washington, where they had performed at President Obama’s inauguration ceremonies, has fueled the debate on gun control and gun violence.

On Thursday, the Chicago police said they were getting tips they hoped would lead to the arrest of the gunman who shot at a group of high school students, mostly members of the volleyball team, huddled under a canopy to avoi heavy rain.

Ms.Pendleton was struck in the back as she fled. Another student was wounded. The police said that they had no motive for the shooting but that it was possible the gunman mistakenly believed the students were members of a rival gang.

Her death was at least the 40th homicide in Chicago this year. In 2012, there were more than 500 homicides in the city.

As my colleagues Steve Yaccino and Catrin Einhorn report, the death of Ms. Pendleton, a sophomore at King Prep High School, shook the school community and added to the national conversation on gun violence that began after the mass school shooting in Connecticut on Dec. 14.

As we previously reported on The Lede, Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, cited Ms! . Pendleton’s death during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence on Wednesday. The White House press secretary, Jay Carney, called her killing another example “of the problem that we need to deal with.”

On Thursday, news broke of another shooting, this time outside a middle school in Atlanta. According to a report in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a 14-year-old boy was wounded in the head by another student, who was quickly arrested by an armed school resource officer.

Ms. Pendleton was a sixth grader in 2008 when she appeared in the antigang video with a handful of other students. Speaking into the camera, with two other students at her side, she says, smiling:

“Hi, my name is Hadiya. This commercial is informational for you and your future children. So many children out there are in gangs, and it’s your job as students to say no to gangs and yes to a great future.”

he camera then shows children pretending to be victims of gang violence, sprawled in a stairwell, against a locker, lying on the floor. One of the girls, standing next to Hadiya, concludes their public service announcement by saying:

“So many children in the world have died from gang violence. More than 500 children have died from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Ms. Pendleton had just finished an exam and, the police said, was standing under the canopy at the park with a group of teenagers, mostly members of the school volleyball team, when a man jumped over a fence and began firing.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the police said the gunman apparently mistakenly believed they were members of a rival gang. The police said the teenagers targeted had no gang connection.

Students took to social media, posting messages and images on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook to mourn their friend.

For YouTube, an alumni group put together a tribute video for Ms. Pendleton.

On Twitter, they started a hashtag, #HadiyasWorld.