Hadiya Pendleton: March, vigil held to remember 15-year-old shooting victim

February 1, 2013 8:37:59 PM PST
About 100 people marched to honor 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton Friday. They walked from King College Prep to the park where she was killed Tuesday afternoon.

Pendleton had just finished her final exams on Tuesday when she and some friends walked over to Harsh Park, where she was shot. Friday, dozens retraced those steps in a call for justice.

It was a march to honor Pendleton and a call for the shooter to do the right thing.

The reward for information about the slaying was raised to $40,000.

"Please turn yourself in. Do us all a justice and yourself a justice, too. Just turn yourself in," said marcher Dion Houston.

About 100 people marched from King College Prep to the park a few blocks away.

"I think it's a tragedy that these types of things are happening," said marcher Paul Glenn. "And there's really no answer or a quick fix for it."

A march organizer who didn't want to give his name said Pendleton's death represented a failure of the city's leadership.

"Mr. Mayor, we need you out here in our communities," the organizer said. "Not downtown in City Hall, smiling in front of these cameras right here. It's not going to work."

Friday evening there was a candlelight vigil where mourners walked to Harsh Park, where Pendleton was shot.

"It's very emotional but we need to get things done. We need to bring awareness to our community so things happen," parent Kimberly Walker said.

Pendleton's pastor Rev. Courtney Maxwell said Friday that President Barack Obama personally called the girl's family this week. There has been no White House confirmation of such a call.

Would Maxwell like to see the president at Hadiya's funeral?

"You know, the president has a lot on his plate," said the Greater Deliverance Temple Church of Christ pastor. "And he has already called. And so we thank him for that."

This is hardly the first time the senseless death of a child has sparked this kind of outrage. Six months ago this week, 7-year-old Heaven Sutton was gunned down on the West Side while selling candy outside her home.

"It's not about crime," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel last June. "It's about values. Where were you raised and who raised you? Stay away from the kids."

Now, as another child is mourned, many are asking, "What will it take?"

"There's a collaborative failure here that's going on, and it produces a culture of violence," said Greater St. John Bible Church Pastor Ira Acree.

The reward for information leading to the killer is now $40,000.

According to Pastor Acree, Pendleton's funeral will be Saturday, February 9 at 10 a.m. at Greater Harvest Baptist Church, 5141 S. State St.