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Chicago teenager shot and killed after sister sat on stage behind Obama during speech on guns

By Matt Williams, The Guardian
Sunday, February 17, 2013 19:06 EDT
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Chicago at night via AFP
 
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Sister of 18-year-old Janay McFarlane sat behind the president during speech about gun control hours before sibling died

A Chicago teenager was shot and killed just hours after her sister sat on a stage behind Barack Obama, listening to the president appeal for tighter gun controls.

Janay McFarlane, 18, died from a gunshot would to the head following an incident shortly before midnight on Friday, Lake County coroner Thomas Rudd told the Chicago Sun-Times.

It was one of a number of shootings that occurred in an evening of gun violence in Chicago – Obama’s hometown and the location of his latest address to tackle the subject.

During Friday’s speech, the president noted: “Last year, there were 443 murders with a firearm in this city, and 65 of them were 18 and under. That’s the equivalent of a Newtown every four months.

“That’s precisely why the overwhelming majority of Americans are asking for some common sense proposals to make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun,” he said.

Among those listening to the address at Hyde Park Career Academy was McFarlane’s 14-year-old sister. Just hours later she would be mourning the death of her sister.

McFarlane’s mother, Angela Blakely, said Sunday: “I really feel like somebody cut a part of my heart out.”

Blakely said the bullet that killed McFarlane was meant for a friend. McFarlane was supposed to graduate from an alternative school this spring, her mother said, and wanted to go into the culinary arts.

“I’m just really, truly just trying to process it, knowing that I’m not taking my baby home any more,” Blakely said.

McFarlane’s death comes after that of fellow Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton, a schoolgirl who had been part of the celebrations for Obama’s second inauguration. The 15-year-old was fatally shot last month in a South Side park not far from the Obama’s Chicago address.

Her death drew further attention to city’s battle with violent crime and led to calls for Obama to return to his hometown to confront the issue.

Underscoring the need for action was a rash of shootings in the hours after Obama’s address on Friday.

The Chicago Tribune said one woman died from gunshot wounds sustained at around 7pm Friday; two men were shot and wounded around 7.20pm in another area and a third man was shot in the leg around 5.55pm, as he was sitting in his car.

In the city as a whole there were more than 500 murders in 2012 and the rate does not seen to have slowed down in 2013. In January there were 43 deaths – the majority involved guns.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2013

[Image: Chicago, via AFP]

 
 
 
 
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