CHICAGO (CBS) — After a 15-year-old honor student was killed just blocks away from her school earlier this week, community leaders have started turning to social media in an effort to solve the murder.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports Hadiya Pendleton, who performed with her school band at President Obama’s inauguration last week, was gunned down in a Kenwood neighborhood park as she and about a dozen schoolmates were sheltering themselves from the rain under a canopy.
Police have said neither Hadiya nor the people she was with were in a gang, but it is believed the shooter mistook someone in the crowd for a rival gang member, and shot at them.
There have not been any arrests, but Rev. Michael Pfleger said he hopes the sadness and anger felt nationwide over Hadiya’s death prompts the community to take action.
Pfleger was among a number of local religious and community leaders who have urged people to turn in the killer, and he has turned to social media to help get out his message.
“You are not a snitch when you tell what you know. You are a lifesaver,” Pfleger said.
The pastor of St. Sabina has posted messages on Facebook, saying social media can be the tool used to “turn in the shooter” who took Hadiya’s life.
“Can we make this Angels Murder a turning point?” Pfleger wrote in a post on his Facebook page. “I am asking everyone on FACEBOOK to use your page your email, your twitter, AND LET’S FLOOD SOCIAL MEDIA TONIGHT AND TOMORROW TELLING FOLKS TURN IN THE SHOOTER!!!!!!!!!”
Pfleger said local residents should rise up and let killers know they can’t hide in the community.
“That shooter may not be afraid of the police, but when he knows everybody on that block is saying, ‘No, you’re going to jail, we’re going to turn you in,’ when that begins to happen and rises up in this community, that becomes our Newtown, and our turning point; things will change, the violence will go down,” Pfleger said.
A total of $30,000 is being offered as a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for Hadiya’s death.
Community activist Andrew Holmes has a call center that has fielding tips about Pendleton’s murder.
“You’re not a snitch. You’re … a person that’s important, a person that can change the society here, by just picking up the phone and giving up this information,” Holmes said.
Anyone with information about Hadiya’s murder should call 1-800-U-TELL-US (883-5587), or call Area Central Detectives at 312-747-8380.
For the first time, the victim’s mother on Thursday talked about her loss.
“She was just 15, enjoying it, because I used to talk to her about these years being some of the best years of your life,” Cleo Conley, Hadiya’s mother, said on MSNBC. “Get in there and just enjoy them, you know. You’re going to make a difference.”