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Reward Increased In Kenwood Teen’s Slaying

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Hadiya Pendleton (Supplied to CBS)

Hadiya Pendleton (Supplied to CBS)

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Updated 02/01/2013 – 5:16 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Contributions continued to pour in Friday to increase the reward for information in the murder of a 15-year-old honors student, bringing the total reward to $40,000.

Chicago police announced Friday afternoon that St. Sabina Church had contributed $10,000 for the reward, on top of $30,000 that was already being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for killing Hadiya Pendleton, a King College Prep High School sophomore.

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said he hopes the reward helps police solve the case.

“It may be motivation for somebody who knows something to say something. If that doesn’t do it, then maybe we should look at our consciences,” McCarthy said as he stood with the ministers at King College Prep, where Hadiya was an honors student, volleyball player and school band majorette.

Meantime, Hadiya’s friends and neighbors marched from the school to the park where she died, to honor her memory.

Hadiya was gunned down in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park on the 4400 block of South Oakenwald Avenue, as she and about a dozen schoolmates were sheltering themselves from the rain under a canopy on Tuesday. About a week before the shooting, Hadiya had performed with the school band at President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Among those marching to the park on Friday was Hadiya’s best friend, a fellow 15-year-old who was with Hadiya when she was shot.

“It feels really weird going back to the place where my best friend got shot,” she said.

Hadiya’s friend was too afraid to reveal her identity, but she said she felt she had to be there for Hadiya. So, despite the cold and heartache, she joined the others and marched to honor her fallen friend.

Walking to the park brought her back to her friend’s final moments as Hadiya lay dying.

“Everybody was just like we love you Hi-Dee, you’re going to make it through, stay with us, stay with us,” she said. “Just trying to keep her, trying to keep her here.”

She said she never really thought Hadiya would die.

“I thought she was going to make it through. I really thought she was going to make it,” she said. “It’s still unreal. We still can’t believe that she’s gone.”

A petition is reportedly circulating, urging the president to attend Hadiya’s funeral.

Hadiya’s funeral will be at Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, 5141 S. State St., on Feb. 9, at 11 a.m.

Visitation will be held on Feb. 8 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Calahan Funeral Home at 7030 S. Halsted St. There will also be visitation at the church before the funeral on Feb. 9.

The funeral directors at the South Side mortuary deal with the gunfire deaths of more than a dozen children and teens every year.

“I see young children that possibly have a great future in society, that could make a difference in society, being cut short in their life, and it affects you. It’s a thing that I have to pray about,” owner Ed Calahan tells CBS 2’s Mike Parker.

Bishop Larry Trotter, of Sweet Holy Spirit Church, said he doesn’t expect any change to come about as a result of Hadiya’s murder.

Trotter said he applauds Mayor Rahm Emanuel and President Obama for their outrage over the shooting, but he said he’s been around long enough to know Hadiya’s slaying is just part of the news cycle.

“I don’t really think we understand; this is no longer just gang-related. What we are experiencing in Chicago is random shooting; guns in the hands of the wrong people,” he said.

Trotter said young people at his church have told him where they can get a gun for $40.

He also lamented how spikes in violent crime in the early months of last year, and again last month have damaged Chicago’s reputation.

He noted there was a time people from other countries automatically associated Chicago with Al Capone. Former Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan helped change that image, but Trotter said now some are associating Chicago with the war-ravaged Congo in Africa.

“I had a friend of mine come here the other week, and he said we’re no longer calling Chicago ‘Chicago,’ we call it ‘Chi-Congo,’ like the country in Africa where they do all the killing,” he said. “That’s a terrible reputation for a city that I love.”

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 she was with for a rival gang member, and shot at them.

McCarthy said police would leave no stone unturned in the effort to find Hadiya’s killer.

“I made the promise to Mr. and Mrs. Pendleton that we’re committed to making sure that that happens; to bring them at least that bit of closure to move on with their lives,” he said.

McCarthy pleaded for anyone with information on the murder to call police and help bring what he calls “a sociopath” to justice.

He said police also are looking for an accomplice who might have driven a getaway car.

Contrary to rumors floating around the Kenwood neighborhood, McCarthy said police have no surveillance video or photos of the suspect.

There have not been any arrests, and the shooting has sparked outrage across the city and nation, similar to other child shootings over the years in Chicago. In 1984, it was Simeon basketball superstar Ben Wilson, shot outside a convenience store; in the 1992, 7-year-old Dantrell Davis, was gunned down while walking in the Cabrini-Green housing complex. And in 2007, teenager Blair Holt was shot on a CTA bus.

And yet the murders, while much lower than the early 1990s, continue. Over 500 people were murdered in 2012, and at least 42 for the month of January. There were a total of 943 homicides in 1992.

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