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!"
When the march reached Harsh Park, Melvin urged Chicago police to hire more new officers, not just redistribute desk workers.
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."
Darcell Igbo, who was Hadiya's volleyball coach since her freshman year, remembered her as "goofy" and always having a positive attitude. "She was one of the nice kids," he said.
Igbo recalled one game where he hollered Hadiya's name from the sidelines, and she looked toward him just before the ball smacked her in the leg.
"She just kind of shook it off," he said, chuckling. "She laughed at it. We all laughed at it."
Igbo said he hopes Hadiya's death raises awareness for the "senselessness" of the gun violence plaguing Chicago streets.
"I don't know how many more lives it's going to take," he said, tears streaming down his face. "It should only take one."
Hadiya and the others had sought shelter from a rainstorm under a canopy at the park around 2:20 p.m. Tuesday when a gunman jumped a fence, ran toward them and opened fire, police said.
Source: Chicago Tribune