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Hadiya Pendleton, 15, shot and killed

Hadiya-PendletonHadiya Pendelton was shot in the back and killed while standing with friends inside Harsh Park after taking final exams on Tuesday.   The-15 year-old student at King College Prep was killed just a week after performing at events for President Obama’s inauguration.

Police believe the shooter mistook the group for a rival gang.

Two reputed gang members have since been charged in the murder of Hadiya. Micheail Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, are being held without bond.




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It was one year ago Wednesday a high school honors student was shot and killed in the North Kenwood neighborhood.

Hadiya Pendleton was shot just blocks away from President Obama’s home in Chicago, and her death attracted national attention in the fight against gun violence.

The 15 year-old was killed at Vivian Gordon Harsh Park as she hung out with friends after school. She was a student at King College Prep.

First Lady Michelle Obama attended her funeral, and the First Family invited her parents to the State of the Union address in 2013.

On this anniversary, friends and family will attend a private memorial service from 3-5 p.m. at King College Prep. Afterward, the Pendletons are expected to host a family gathering at their home in Bronzeville. They also plan to visit her gravesite at Oak Woods Cemetery in Woodlawn.   Her parents are struggling with her death.   “You know, you have to figure out how to live with what’s transpired,” said Cleopatra Pendleton, the victim’s mother.

Her parents formed “Hadiya’s Foundation” to battle against gun violence.

Today marks one year since the murder of Hadiya Pendleton.

The 15-year-old was shot and killed at a park on the South Side, one week after performing at events for president Obama’s second inauguration.

Since the shooting, Hadiya’s parents have created a foundation to provide social, economic and educational services to people in need.

They’re also continuing to lobby for tougher gun laws.

A private memorial service will be held today at King College Prep, where Hadiya was a sophomore.

First Lady to attend slain Chicago teen’s funeralIn what seems like an instant– a year has gone by for the Pendleton family.

“God has a way of carrying you sometimes.  There’s no explanation how things have transpired.”

Cleopatra and Nathaniel Pendleton were thrust into the national spotlight January 29th 2013, the day their daughter, Hadiya, was shot and killed while standing with friends in a south side park.  They had just finished their finals at King High School.

“You can’t get away from what happened, Cleopatra said, “It’s a feeling that you pray never to experience.  It’s interesting that we’re going through this.  I was at work when Newtown happened and I was just devastated.  I said I couldn’t imagine sending my child to school and them never coming home and then not a month later… It happens to me.”

Hadiya’s death drew the attention of President Obama and the first lady, as the honors student, who’d just performed at the president’s inauguration and her parents were pulled into the national discussion on gun control.

A world away from the lives they ever pictured.

“You’re thinking we’ll be old and grey, we’ll have some grandkids ya know?  There’s so much longevity when you look into the eyes of your child.”

“But… you see success.  You see college I remember telling her I can’t wait to take you to college so I can embarrass you.  Just go down there and stay for a week with you.  Almost like back to school with Rodney Dangerfield. But those are things we can’t experience with her.  The way I cope?  I just try to stay as busy as I possibly can,” Nathaniel said.

That includes the development of Hadiya’s foundation.  The Pendleton’s hope to help their community– by turning personal tragedy into community triumph.

“Something has to be done about this and we have to figure out how to talk about the issues and connect ourselves so that pressure is still out there to bring about change.”

The Hadiya Pendleton Foundation received a gift from City Hall just three weeks before the one-year anniversary of its namesake’s murder.

The city agreed to lease two unused offices in the Martin Luther King Community Center to the foundation for just a dollar.

The foundation will provide mentoring, tutoring, and recreation programs for young people after school.

Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed last year at a park less than a mile from President Obama`s Kenwood home.

The city is offering the Hadiya Pendleton Foundation a virtually rent-free home for the next few years.

The foundation was established by the family of the 15-year-old King College Prep honor student who was gunned down in a park in January while hanging out with friends.

It is dedicated to offering after school programs to keep kids out of the line of fire.

Hadiya’s shooting happened about a mile from the Obama family’s Kenwood home.

First Lady Michelle Obama attended the funeral for Hadiya, who just a few days earlier had gone to Washington to perform at inaugural events.

The city’s Committee On Housing and Real Estate meets today to consider approving office space for the foundation at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center for $1 through 2016.

There was laughter and tears as Hadiya Pendleton’s family and friends gathered at the 31st St Beach to celebrate what should have been her 16th birthday Sunday.

CaptureEmotions run high at ceremony remembering slain teen

Emotions run high at ceremony remembering slain teen

The candlelight vigil and balloon release was organized by Project Orange Tree, a group of young people who was inspired by Hadiya to create awareness about violence in Chicago.

“We wear orange because it’s the color that hunters wear to show I’m not the enemy, don’t shoot me,” said Nza-Ari Khepra, Hadiya’s friend.

The King College Prep student was shot and killed in January just days after performing at events for President Obama’s inauguration.

The two suspects accused of killing 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton pleaded not guilty Thursday to dozens of counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and other charges.

Michael Ward, 18, the alleged shooter, was indicted on 141 counts of first-degree murder alone, prompting his attorney to blast Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

“I want to ask (Alvarez):’Why are you doing this?’” said Jeff Granich, Ward’s lawyer. “It’s ridiculous and stupid. It’s an extremely cheap way of getting attention. It’s a waste of paper.”


From left: Suspect Michael Ward, victim Hadiya Pendelton, and suspect Kenneth Williams.

“It’s a stunt,” he said.

Kenneth Williams, 20, the alleged getaway driver, was charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.

Both Ward and Williams were also charged with two counts of aggravated battery, 10 counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm and one count of mob action.

Prosecutors say they shot and killed Pendleton while she was standing with friends in Kenwood Park on January 29th.

She was not the intended target. Two other teens were hurt.

The suspects have been held without bail since their arrests.

The Chicago Tribune contributed to this report.

Hadiya Pendleton’s mother, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, speaks out Thursday about “common-sense laws” that protect children. (CNN)

The two suspects accused of killing 15-year old Hadiya Pendleton are scheduled to appear in court for arraignment Thursday.

18-year old Michael Ward and 20-year old Kenneth Williams are both charged with first degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated battery.

Prosecutors say they shot and killed Pendleton while she was standing with friends in Kenwood Park on January 29th.

She was not the intended target.

Two other teens were hurt.

The suspects have been held without bail since their arrests.

911 recordings from the death of Hadiya Pendleton, 15, have been made public, as a bill bearing her name cleared a major hurdle in Congress. The King College Prep student was fatally shot in January while standing with a group of teenagers in Harsh Park.

On Friday, Hadiya’s parents joined Senator Dick Durbin, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, and Sandra Wortham, sister of slain police officer Thomas Wortham IV, at a press conference speaking in support of the Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act.

The bipartisan bill, also sponsored by Senator Mark Kirk, would crack down on straw purchasing and gun trafficking. A key part of the bill is named after Hadiya. The measure cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday and now heads to the full Senate for a vote.

Hadiya was killed just a week after she performed at events for President Obama’s inauguration. Her death became a national symbol of gun violence and First Lady Michelle Obama attended the teen’s funeral in Chicago.

Two young men are charged in the case. Hadiya was not the intended target, police said.