In Chicago, gangs routinely and often indiscriminately open fire. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and McCarthy are pushing for tougher local, state and national gun laws and longer prison sentences for offenders.
About three blocks from Hadiya's school, she and a group of 10-12 young people, including members of her volleyball team, had taken refuge under a canopy at a park to avoid the rain Tuesday afternoon. A man climbed a fence behind the park, ran at the group and started shooting, and then jumped back over the fence and into a white Nissan. The group scattered, but Hadiya was shot once in the back and a teenage boy was shot in the leg.
Police said Hadiya had no arrest record and there was no indication she was a member of a gang or was the gunman's target. In fact, McCarthy said there are no indications that anyone in the group was gang-affiliated. He said the police suspect that the gunman may be a member of a gang that considers the park its turf and that he mistook somebody in the group as someone from an encroaching rival gang.
McCarthy vowed to put a police officer at the park “24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year” if that is what it takes to show the gang that the park belongs to no one but the community.
Comments by both Stewart and the girl's father echo the message that city officials have long said: Gun violence is not confined to street corners in dangerous neighborhoods. Obama's neighborhood, Kenwood, is just north of the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry.
“Her parents had done everything right and she was doing everything right,” he said. Stewart, who was 12 when his own brother was shot and killed, said his family and Pendleton's family were so close that his own children saw the 15-year-old as an older sister.
“The worst thing in the world was when yesterday I had to sit there and tell my children that their sister is gone,” he said.