SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

January 31, 2013

White House calls girl's slaying a 'terrible tragedy'

CHICAGO — As it pushes for national gun control, the White House yesterday addressed a tragic shooting close to President Barack Obama’s home in Chicago.

Fifteen-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who last week performed at Obama’s inaugural festivities, was killed when a gunman opened fire on a group of students just blocks from King College Prep and about a mile from Obama’s home in Kenwood on the South Side.

Presidential spokesman Jay Carney, asked about Hadiya’s death, said it was a “terrible tragedy” any time a young person is struck down “with so much of their life ahead of them.”

“The president and first lady’s thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hadiya Pendleton,” he said. “All of our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”

Carney, asked about a petition urging President Barack Obama to attend Pendleton’s funeral, said he was not aware of the petition and had no scheduling announcements to make.

Carney said that when Obama talks about gun violence in America, he is not talking only about Newtown, Conn., or Aurora, Colo., or Oak Creek, Wis., or Virginia Tech — scenes of high-profile mass killings — but to shootings in Chicago and other parts of the country, as well.

He added that while “we may not be able to prevent every act of gun violence ... we need to take action to reduce gun violence” and “make sure that we’re doing everything we can in a responsible way to reduce this violence, to protect our children, including Hadiya Pendleton and others.”

Hadiya’s death also came up at a news conference by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as a particularly violent January in Chicago draws to a close.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called Hadiya “what is best in our city” and urged anyone with information about the slaying to come forward.

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