Last week, Hayida Pendleton was performing at President Obama's inauguration festivities. Today, the body of the 15 year-old girl is in the Cook County morgue.
She died yesterday of a gunshot wound to the back, hit by a gunman who opened fire on a crowd of teens gathered under a tent after school, trying to avoid the pouring rain.
The story is tragic. The stories about Pendleton and the pictures her family shared are heartbreaking.
Her death is one single tragedy, but it's part of a larger story about gun violence in Chicago. Young people are the No. 1 target when it comes to the city's sky-high homicide rate.
From 2008 through 2012, nearly half of Chicago’s 2,389 homicide victims were killed before their 25th birthday. That statistic is from our new story in our ongoing series, Too Young To Die, which includes documentary photos from photographer Carlos Javier Ortiz. Ortiz has spent six years documenting Chicago's homicide epidemic, and his photos are gripping.
For part of the project, we created a map of every homicide within the city of people under 25 between 2008 and 2012. Each dot is one person, and by clicking on it, you can see where and when they died, their name, race, age and gender.
Hayida Pendleton's death is a serious loss. The same goes for the 1,118 young people who were killed over the last five years.
We know these kids are too young to die. The question is: What are we doing about it?