Hadiya Pendleton shooting has Chicago teens pleading for peace

February 4, 2013 (CHICAGO)

A group of students was late for school Monday morning. They met at King College Prep High School, where classmates mourn the death of Hadiyah Pendleton.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy revealed that police have taken nearly 700 guns off the streets in the first few weeks of 2013. He also revealed that they continue to investigate Pendleton's shooting death.

"We've made progress," said McCarthy, "nothing I can report to you...that's putting us anywhere near making an arrest at this point, but there's a lot of information that we're tracking down."

The teens who gathered Monday didn't know Pendleton, but they said they know the pain of losing someone to gun violence and the pain of living amid the violence.

"It's painful to keep seeing people who look just like you, who have something going for them, get shot," said Jordyn Willis. "They land in pool of their blood for what reason? The bullet wasn't meant for them."

"We are living in fear. We can't go in a park and get away from the the rain and just decide to just chill without being gunned down. And that's the problem," said Chelsea James. "That's how I feel. People on the South Side, we have it worse than any other side of Chicago."

"It's hard for me. Every time I see somebody walk toward me, the first thing that comes to mind is, either something bad fitting to happen or something tragic is going to happen to me," said Kelsey Hogan.

The teens marched to the park in North Kenwood where Pendleton was shot. They ultimately want to meet with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to talk about their ideas to combat violence -- like adding jobs, programs and mental health support for families.

The teens were part of a group called "Youth Voices Against Violence," part of a the Greater Roseland Community Committee. They were made up of students from varying schools, many from Lindblom High School.

Hadiyah Pendleton's funeral will be held on Saturday.

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