Last month, President Barack Obama flew cross country to personally share in the grief of the parents who lost their children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting.
In the hours following the shooting death of a 15-year-old girl who danced for him at his Inauguration, the president and First Lady Michelle Obama released this statement:
“The president and first lady’s thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hadiya Pendleton.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel choked up while discussing Hadiya Pendleton at an afternoon press conference today.
Obama’s former White House Chief of Staff, said the honor student and drum majorette was “what is best in our city,” and he called the gunman who killed her a “punk.”
His voice cracking, the mayor spoke directly to Pendleton’s mother, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton.
“Nothing pains you more than calling a fellow parent, trying to comfort them,” Emanuel said.
“She is what is best in our city. A child going to school, who takes a final exam, who had just been to the inaugural,” Emanuel said. “You look at her, you look at how she talked about her future. She took her final exams. She had dreams. And this gang-banger, this punk took that away from Cleopatra. They took it away from Hadiya. And in my view, they took it away from the city of Chicago.”
Pendleton died just days after performing for President Obama with her high school band.
Witnesses tell CBS 2’s Mike Parker that Pendleton was among a group of 10 to 12 teenagers seeking shelter from the rain under a canopy in a park on the 4500 block of South Oakenwald Avenue around 2:30 p.m., when a gunman jumped a fence, and opened fire on the teens.
Police said Pendleton had no gang affiliations, but several of the teens she was with were believed to be known gang members.