Something good HAS to come from such a horrific tragedy.
As community members marched in memory of Hadiya Pendleton today, officials announced the reward for information in the slaying of the King College Prep sophomore has been increased to $40,000.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and other police officials announced the increased reward in advance of an anti-violence march in her honor that left from her high school, 4445 S. Drexel Blvd.
Hadiya had just finished her final exams at King College Prep, and was hanging out with friends from the school’s volleyball team when she was gunned down Tuesday in Harsh Park, in the 4400 block of South Oakenwald Avenue. Thursday afternoon, police announced the reward for information leading to an arrest in the shooting had increased to $24,000, up from $11,000 announced Wednesday. By Friday night the reward was up to $40,000.
Dozens of adults and children marched this afternoon from King Prep High School to Harsh Park, the scene of the shooting.
They were escorted by at least six police vehicles as the crowd chanted, urging anyone with information about Pendleton’s slaying to come forward.
“If you know who did this, turn them in!” shouted Melvin, a man who led the march but did not want to provide his last name out of fear of retaliation. “If you don’t support this, next it might be you!”
Many people who knew Hadiya have told stories of her kindness and strength, none more telling than this one…
Raven Barnes, 18, a King College Prep senior who was friends with Hadiya, said she “always had a smile on her face.”
“I never thought it would happen to Hadiya because she’s one of the nicest people,” Barnes said. “She didn’t deserve it.”
Hadiya recently broke up an “altercation” between Barnes and another girl, Barnes recalled. She said Hadiya convinced her to avoid the conflict and swear off fighting with other girls for good.
“She just was a person who hated violence,” Barnes said. “She didn’t want any violence … ever. It’s just so sad that violence took her life.”
Our hearts still hurt for Hadiya, her family, and the entire Chicago community that deals with these kinds of losses on a daily basis.
What can we do to help ensure that our children are safe from this kind of egregious violence.