CPS Student Among 3 Dead in South Side Shootings
CHICAGO — A 15-year-old student at King College Prep who reportedly attended the presidential inauguration a week ago was killed at a park near the school as violence continued at a brisk pace after nine people were killed over the weekend.
As temperatures hit record levels, five separate incidents left the girl and two others dead and five people wounded, including another King student.
"When is it going to stop?" asked Beverly Joseph, 61, after a shooting in Grand Crossing, one of two incidents in that neighborhood Tuesday.
Hadiya Pendleton, 15, and another student at King, a selective-enrollment school at 4445 S. Drexel Blvd., had gotten out of school early, at 1 p.m. Tuesday, after final exams, authorities and other students said.
She and at least one other student — identified by other students as Lawrence Sellers, 17 — were with a group of about a dozen teens at Vivian Gordon Harsh Park in the 4500 block of South Oakenwald Avenue at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, police said.
Police reported that the group was under a canopy trying to stay out of the rain when "A male/black jumped a fence, ran toward the group and opened fire. Members of the group scrambled."
After the two King students were hit, the shooter jumped into a waiting car and sped away, police said.
Both victims were taken to Comer Children's Hospital, Chicago Fire Department officials said. Hadiya was shot in the back and later died, according to police and the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. Sellers was shot in the leg and was in serious condition, police said.
Police said Hadiya had no arrest history, was not part of a gang and "by all indications the female victim was an unintended target." But the police statement said "preliminary information indicates that most of the members of the group were gang members."
No one was in custody for the shooting as of Tuesday evening, police said.
Desiree Sanders, who lives near the park, said she heard six shots and then saw about 10 people running away from the park. Two of them collapsed, and Sanders called police.
While police said no one in the group that fled the shooting rendered aid to the victims or waited for police, Sanders said some did stay with the two students.
"They were in shock," Sanders said of those who stayed at the scene.
Roxane Hubbard, who has lived in the neighborhood for 19 years, said she has never heard of a shooting on her block, which is about a mile away from President Barack Obama's home.
"President Obama's house is like three blocks from here, so this is not typical," she said.
Kendall Warton, a sophomore, said Hadiya, a member of the majorettes dance team, had a lot of friends.
Hadiya reportedly attended Obama's inauguration with the team a week earlier.
"She was a very loving and outgoing person," Warton said. "She really had an open mind and was free-spirited."
King College Prep junior Marini Mack got to know Hadiya in dance class. She said Hadiya was "really fun and happy all the time.
"I can't stop crying," she said. "All I hear is ... they just got shot at."
Warton said Sellars is the "class clown."
Janai Bates, 17, said she didn't know of anyone who has "any problems at the school" with either one of them.
"Lawrence and Hadiya aren’t the type of people to get in a conflict with anybody," Bates said. "Everybody loved them. They joked with everybod. They give out that warmth."
Relatives of Hadiya declined to comment outside her home Tuesday night. Chicago Public Schools officials also wouldn't comment.
Speaking at a news conference on gun control Tuesday evening, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said police wouldn't overhaul their crime-fighting strategies in the wake of this week's violence, but might tweak them in light of the rash of shootings.
"Chicago is not alone in going through a bad spell, if you will," he said. "If we have a three- or four-day spell, it's very difficult to get inside of them, [but] you don't throw out everything you're doing because you have a bad spell. We're going to continue to refine our strategies."
In another incident, a 23-year-old man was shot in the leg about 2:24 p.m. near West 63rd Street and South Normal Boulevard. The man was in stable condition and walked into St. Bernard Hospital, police said.
Also Tuesday, Devin Common, 28, was killed and two others were injured by gunfire in Greater Grand Crossing, according to police and the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.
The shooting occurred about 12:10 p.m. in the 7500 block of South Champlain Avenue, police said.
Beverly Joseph, 61, who said she has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years, said, "I don't understand why no one has answers for what we as a people can do to stop the crime."
Though she said she still feels safe on her own street, Joseph pointed to a body covered with a blue sheet and said, "But that child is somebody's child.
"What [police] need to do is tell us how to help. What I see in their [police] faces is blank, like, 'Just another one killed,' " Joseph said.
"That means there'll be shootings for days now," said one man who declined to be identified. "If this is retaliation, there will be."
Ali Johnson, who lives on the block where the shooting took place, said he was worried about his wife and brother, who frequently travel that route on their way to the local corner store.
"Bullets ain't got a motherf----n' name," he said.
About 2 p.m., a man of an unknown age was shot in the back near East 71st Street and South Rhodes Avenue at 2 p.m., officials said.
Police said the man was hospitalized in critical condition.
According to witnesses, a group of eight to nine men were walking west on 71st Street when they exchanged gunfire with a group of people down the street.
They fled after about 15 shots had been fired, according to an employee at Speedy Refund who refused to be identified due to fear of retaliation.
"This city is in an uproar," she said.
Shell casings littered the block in several locations along 71st Street, from South King Drive to South Eberhart Avenue.
One man was Tasered to the ground after he appeared to angrily approach an officer after being told to stop.
Earlier on Tuesday, Gino Angotti, 20, was shot and killed in on the East Side, police said.
Eight people were shot between Monday evening and Tuesday morning.