‘Giving condolences is not enough.’ Hadiya Pendleton’s mom urges people to turn in guns as Chicago police announce recovery of 9,000 weapons this year.

Rosemary Sobol, Chicago Tribune
·2 min read

The mother of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old girl whose shooting death in 2013 sparked a national outcry, appeared with Chicago police brass Wednesday as they announced the recovery of 9,000 guns in the city so far this year.

While Cleopatra Cowley Pendleton called the number “amazing,” she emphasized that “when you’re a victim of violence, gun violence in particular, the numbers you remember are very different.”

“She was 15 years old. She was the 42nd person to be killed so far that January. She had a 10-year-old brother. I buried her on Feb. 9. The sad part is that giving condolences for those numbers is not enough,” she said, urging people to “understand the importance of gun turn-ins.”

Chicago police officials have repeatedly blamed the spike in violence this year on the prevalence of guns on the streets. This year is on pace to be deadlier than 2016, which was the most violent year in Chicago in 20 years.

Of the 9,000 guns seized or turned in, nearly a third came from some of the most violent police districts in the city.

In the Harrison District on the West Side, 1,112 guns were recovered, according to First Deputy Superintendent Eric Carter.

The South Side’s Englewood District had 903 guns recovered, and the Gresham District was close behind with 821, Carter said. He said there has been a 1% drop in gun turn-ins, which he blamed on the pandemic.

“Each of these weapons have the potential to take a life,” Carter said.

Also appearing at the news conference was anti-violence activist Andrew Holmes, who asked for a moment of silence for those who have lost their lives to gun violence. “We as a community have to help and step up,” Holmes said, urging people to call 911 to turn in a gun.

Cowley pleaded for people to give police any information they have about a crime. “Any opportunity to be the voice for my deceased child, I will take it,” she said.

Data kept by the Chicago Tribune shows there have been at least 3,474 shootings and 645 homicides so far this year. In 2016, there were nearly 780 homicides for the entire year, the most since 796 were recorded in 1996.


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