A 15-year-old girl who performed at President Obama's inauguration last week was shot dead Tuesday while hanging out with friends in bullet-scarred Chicago.
Hadiya Pendleton -- described by a relative as a "walking angel" -- was standing under a canopy in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park when a gunman ran down an alley, opened fire at the group and fled in a white car, police said.
Pendleton was shot in the back but managed to run about a block before she collapsed, officer Laura Kubiak said. She died at the hospital.
A 16-year-old boy was wounded in the 2:20 p.m. incident. Police said Pendleton, who had no criminal record, was probably not the intended target.
"As usual, the bad guy aims, but he never hits the other bad guy . . . He hits the one that hurts the most to lose," the victim's godfather, Damon Stewart, 36, who is a police officer, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
"I changed her diapers, I played with her growing up. My heart is broken."
A sophomore at selective King College Prep High School, Pendleton had traveled to Washington to perform with the marching band at inaugural events, NBCChicago.com reported.
Friends of the young majorette described her as a bubbly, well-liked student.
"She was always smiling and laughing," said Tyler Genovesi, 14. "She was just a really nice person. ... There's a lot of people crying in school today. It's very sad. The band is playing for her right now."
On Twitter, Pendleton's schoolmates were decrying the loss of innocent life.
"You are more than loved and missed," one wrote. "Your laugh smile and silly happy personality has made my day more times than I can remember. Nobody deserves this, especially not you."
The shooting happened in an upscale neighborhood where residents were shocked.
"I was torn apart," said Robin Hollis, who lives across the street from the park. "I cried when I heard about it."
Cousin Shatira Wilks told the Sun-Times that Pendleton's family had been thinking of moving to the suburbs, to "an even better community."
"Her daughter has never ever given her mother a problem," Wilks said. "This girl was literally a walking angel."
Pendleton's murder was one of three shooting deaths in the city on Tuesday. More than 40 people have been shot dead in Chicago since the beginning of the year. The city leads the nation in guns seized by police.
The city is corrupt from the cops to the da to the mayor. They make money off the illegal guns the drugs etc.. Everyone there is bought and paid for it makes me sick that they just let this stuff happen.
We definitely need something done. Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in this country and yet crime is so high there. Criminals just don't seem to be afraid anymore.
We need a plan for Gang Control, not gun control. This is one of the most serious issues in our country today, and yet everyone just ignores it.