Hadiya Pendleton Reward Now $40,000, But Top Cop Says 'We Need More Help'

By Geoff Ziezulewicz and Quinn Ford  on February 1, 2013 11:44am  | Updated on February 1, 2013 5:35pm

KENWOOD — The reward for information leading to the arrest of Hadiya Pendleton's killer was raised to $40,000 Friday afternoon, police said.

An additional $10,000 came from St. Sabina, Rev. Michael Pfleger's church.

Earlier, dozens of students, friends and community members gathered at King College Prep High School for a vigil mourning the death of sophomore Hadiya Pendleton. 

At that time, the reward stood at $30,000 after a $6,000 donation from Hadiya's pastor.

"I believe $30,000 is a lot of money," Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said before the vigil. "It may be motivation for someone who knows something to say something. If not, we need look at our consciences."

McCarthy said police are getting leads and tips that are being chased down. He urged anyone who knows something to do "the right thing" and come forward, with their identity remaining confidential.

"The fact is, we need more help," the top cop said.

As McCarthy spoke inside, a boisterous group of roughly 100 made their way from King to Harsh Park, where 15-year-old Hadiya was killed by a gunman while she and a group of friends were taking shelter in the rain.

The crowd chanted for peace and for Hadiya's killer to step forward.

The group was led by a man with a bullhorn whose wife identified him only as Melvin.

"My name is not important," he said after leading the throng to the park where Hadiya was shot. "I'm a servant of god and it's all you need to know."

About 100 people echoed Melvin's bullhorn chants en route to the park.

"If you know who did it!" they chanted.

"Turn him in!"

"Not for the money!"

"But because it's only right!"

The 15-year-old was killed one week after she performed at President Barack Obama's second inauguration. She was a majorette in the King College Prep High School band.

McCarthy called the gunman who fired the shots a "sociopath" and a "stone-cold killer," and he decried the no-snitch code that could keep a witness from getting involved.

 Hadiya Pendleton, 15, a student at King College Prep, was killed outside the school Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2013, friends say.
Hadiya Pendleton, 15, a student at King College Prep, was killed outside the school Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2013, friends say.
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Hadiya's death has resonated throughout the nation. City officials and even the White House have chimed in. Teachers at King College Prep also have been struggling with the bright student's death.

Lorenzo Hughes, 28, had tears in his eyes during the rally at Harsh Park. Hughes, 28, lives in Kenwood and said he "had to come out and support this."

Hughes said he works security at Kenwood High School and wants to see an increased police presence when the school day ends.

"It's just heartbreaking," Hughes said. "It just needs to change. Our kids get out of school, and they can't even make it home safely. That's a problem."

Korey Martin, 17, looked on during the rally and said he had met Hadiya a few times through mutual friends.

Martin said he used to hang out in the park all the time before he moved out of the area and to Englewood.

"She was an innocent person," he said. "I heard about that and thought, this park isn't even safe anymore."

Martin said he doesn't expect the violence to ever stop.

"To be honest, not really," he said. "They're going to keep shooting each other everyday, and they're going to keep retaliating. Nobody's going to squash it."

Mario Givens, who grew up on 47th Street and King Drive, said he used deal drugs in his neighborhood until he joined the U.S. Army and straightened out.

Givens said he did not know Pendleton but said he has a 13-year-old daughter, so he can relate. When asked why Pendleton's murder has had such impact, Givens said it is because of who she was.

"There was nothing negative about her," Givens said. "A young soul who wanted to do something positive with her life."

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