Death Of South Side Teen Enters Washington Gun Debate

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Jan 30, 2013 9:20PM

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Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) testifies at a Senate Judiciary hearing on gun violence.
The shooting death of a teen girl near her high school in Kenwood yesterday became part of the gun debate in Washington today when Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) told her story during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on guns.

"We are awash in guns," Durbin said of Chicago. Watch video of his comments below.

Hadiya Pendleton, 15, was standing in a park blocks away from her high school, taking shelter from the rain under a canopy with a dozen other teens when a gunman opened fire, killing her and wounding another. Hadiya had left school early having finished her final exams. She was a cheerleader, a volleyball player and a basketball player, and Hadiya had been in Washington last week performing as a majorette with the high school band in the inauguration parade.

"It's very painful to see your big sister get slaughtered," said her 10-year-old brother Nathaniel Pendleton Jr. Mayor Rahm Emanuel was described as "emotional" when asking questions about Hadiya's death at an unrelated press conference this morning.

"She had dreams," said Emanuel, "and this gangbanger, this punk, took that away from [her mother] Cleopatra, they took that away from Hadiya, and in my view they took it away from the City of Chicago. She is what is best in our city."

Hadiya's death also came up during a White House press conference (video available below) as she was killed about a mile from President Barack Obama's home. "The president has more than once, when he talks about gun violence in America, referred not just to the horror of Newtown or Aurora or Virginia Tech or Oak Creek but to shootings on the corner in Chicago or other parts of the country," said press secretary Jay Carney.

Emanuel said the proximity of the shooting to the president's home does not carry symbolic significance, and he made a public plea for information on her death. "If anybody has any information, you are not a snitch, you are a citizen, you are a good citizen in good standing if you help, and I hope whoever has information comes forward and does that."

Watch video of Sen. Durbin at the Senate Judiciary hearing on gun violence.

Watch video of press secretary Jay Carney during a White House press briefing.