*As community members marched in memory of Hadiya Pendleton Friday, 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 and ended at the park where she was killed.
Family and friends lit candles and released balloons in the 15-year-old’s memory. The gathering was sometimes emotional, but mostly somber as the group of teenagers reflected on their loss.
Most of those at the vigil were former classmates of Hadiya, the teenager shot and killed last Tuesday while hanging out with friends from King College Prep’s volleyball team in Kenwood’s Harsh Park.
“One day I was really upset and came into school she was at the door smiling and bubbly,” said Kristina Henderson. “I automatically fell into a smile, I couldn’t keep my anger. I had to let it go.”
Earlier in the day, another gathering took place at the park as dozens of members of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition marched from Hadiya’s high school. While Hadiya’s cousin spoke out, calling on whoever is shielding the shooter to turn him in.
“What kind of person are you?” said Shatira Wilks. “I don’t believe there should be any level of privilege for this person as our family has not had any. The biggest concern is calling in. Don’t be afraid.”
“Fortunately, the community is stepping up and giving us everything that they’ve got, from rumors to whatever they know,” Police Supt. Garry McCarthy told NBC Chicago on Friday. “Something’s gonna pan out.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appealed to city residents to drop the no-snitching credo of the streets and come forward with any leads about Pendleton’s killer.
A majorette of the band at King College Prep, the teen had recently performed at President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
Pendleton’s funeral will be Saturday, February 9 at 10 a.m. at Greater Harvest Baptist Church, 5141 S. State St.