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Rahm Emanuel Says Girl's Killer a 'Punk' Who Robbed Chicago

By Ted Cox | January 30, 2013 12:55pm | Updated on January 30, 2013 2:09pm

WEST HUMBOLDT PARK — An emotional Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday called out the "gangbanger" and "punk" who killed Hadiya Pendleton, and said the slain 15-year-old is an example of "the best in our city."

At a news conference in West Humboldt Park, Emanuel said he began the day speaking with the parents of the two teens shot near King College Prep Tuesday, including Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton.

"Nothing breaks your heart more," he said. "Nothing pains you more than calling a fellow parent and trying to comfort them."

He pointed to how Hadiya had just taken her final exams at King and had performed at President Barack Obama's inauguration earlier this month.

 Mayor Rahm Emanuel grew openly emotional Wednesday when talking of the loss of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel grew openly emotional Wednesday when talking of the loss of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

"She had dreams," he said, "and this gangbanger, this punk, took that away from Cleopatra, they took that away from Hadiya, and in my view they took it away from the City of Chicago. She is what is best in our city."

Emanuel said he spoke with the other shooting victim in the incident, and the good news he is "eager to return to school." The bad news, he added, is Hadiya will never return to school.

"These kids just took finals. They have a right to be in a playground near their school," he added.

"It is incumbent on all of us who have a responsibility to see a stop to this. And all of us are responsible, all adults," Emanuel said. "It's our city. It's our children."

Emanuel called on the shooter to be found. "If anybody has any information, you are not a snitch, you are a citizen, you are a good citizen in good standing if you help," he said. "And I hope whoever has information comes forward and does that."

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), speaking at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Wednesday, paid tribute to Hadiya, noting she had just been at the inaugural.

"There was a young lady from Chicago, Illinois. 15 years old. ... She was an honor student and a majorette..."

Being in Washington "was the highlight of her young 15-year-old life," Durbin said.

"Yesterday in a rain storm after school she raced to a shelter, a gunman came in and shot her dead. Just a matter of days after the happiest day of her life, she's gone.

"A lot has been said about the city of Chicago, and I want to say a few words, too. Our biggest problem in Chicago, according to Supt. [Garry] McCarthy, who came to Chicago from New York, we are awash in guns.

"The confiscation of guns per capita in Chicago is six times the number of New York City. We have guns everywhere, and some believe the solution to this is more guns. I disagree."