"This guy, whoever he was, the gunman ... you took the light of my life," Hadiya's father said. "Just look at yourself and just know that you took a bright person, an innocent person, a non-violent person."
No bullet casings were found by investigators at the crime scene, leading them to believe that Hadiya may have been shot with a revolver, according to McCarthy. While it took a while to gather witnesses, McCarthy said police were making "a lot of progress."
At King on Wednesday, classmates created a memorial at Hadiya's locker with pictures, teddy bears and balloons, said Jayla Rufus, 16, a junior who also traveled to D.C. with the King band. "A lot of people are saying, 'Why Hadiya? Why did it have to be her?'" Rufus said.
During the band's three-day trip to Washington, the students visited the Washington Monument and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Rufus said. Hadiya and the majorettes performed with the band in the Presidential Inauguration Heritage Festival.
The school won multiple awards while at the competition, including a first place honor for the band's auxiliary team that included the majorettes, according to Benjamin Washington, the school's director of bands.
Washington said Hadiya was a dedicated and enthusiastic member of the squad. She competed with nearly 100 students during her freshman year to land one of 12 spots.
"She was one of our bright, shining stars," Washington said. "She had a very outgoing personality, always eager to perform."
King's principal, Shontae Higginbottom, said Hadiya was "a wonderful student."
"She was well-loved by her friends, well-adored by her teachers," Higginbottom said. "We are going to miss her. Our hearts are so heavy."
Before King, Hadiya attended Carter G. Woodson middle school, where she appeared in a video the school made to rally against gang violence.
"So many children are out there in gangs and it is your job as students to say no to gangs and yes to a great future," Hadiya says in the 54-second clip.
At Hadiya's Bronzeville home Wednesday, family and friends gathered to grieve and share stories about the boisterous teen they said had a quirky sense of humor.
Hadiya's little brother, Nathaniel Pendleton Jr., 10, recalled how his big sister would often greet him with a few gentle slaps on his cheeks whenever she came home from school.
"She said it was with love," he said.
"It's very painful to see your big sister get slaughtered," the soft-spoken boy said, tearing up as he went through photos of Hadiya on his phone.
Hadiya's aunt, Kimiko Pettis, laughed when talking about her niece, recalling how on Tuesday, the day she was shot, the teen put on makeup and what she declared was a "fabulous outfit" before school.
"She popped out of the bathroom saying, 'I'm ready!'" Pettis said, demonstrating how Hadiya threw her arms in air.
Pettis said her niece loved bands like Coldplay and Maroon 5. "You could not find any urban music on her phone," Pettis said with a laugh.
Because Hadiya was interested in so many things, her family said they were encouraging her to pursue a possible double major when she went to college.
"There were a lot of good opportunities that were coming her way. She was just taking them all," said LaKeisha Stewart, 37, Hadiya's godmother. "She was the kid who you had to say, 'Slow down, you can't do everything.'"
While in Washington for the inauguration, Hadiya sent her godparents a text and a photo of her and her teammates in the capital, Stewart said.
In the photo, Hadiya stands tall in her majorette's uniform, hands at her hips, face lifted in a wide smile.
Tribune reporters Katherine Skiba, Christi Parsons, John Byrne, Carlos Sadovi and Cynthia Dizikes contributed.
(c)2013 the Chicago Tribune
Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Most Popular Stories
- World Bank: Rich Countries Must Curb Emissions
- Airport Garners Social Media Award
- Social Media Campaign Increases Organ Donor Registrations
- What Will Happen When Quantitative Easing Ends?
- MillerCoors Taps New Hispanic Ad Agency
- Immigration Reform Would Decrease U.S. Budget Deficit
- Aetna Leaving California's Individual Health Insurance Market
- Conference Slated for Hispanic Tech Startups
- Tea Party Wants to 'Audit the IRS'
- Calories Count: Starbucks to Post the Numbers on Menu Boards