The death of Hadiya Pendleton occurred on January 29, 2013. Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl from Chicago, Illinois, was shot in the back and killed while standing with friends inside Harsh Park in Kenwood, Chicago after taking her final exams. A student at King College Prep High School, she was killed only one week after performing at events for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. First Lady Michelle Obama attended the funeral for Pendleton in Chicago.
President Obama mentioned Pendleton's death in his 2013 State of the Union Address in Congress, where Pendleton's parents, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton and Nathaniel A. Pendleton Sr., attended as guests. The crime scene is "just a mile away from [President Obama's] Chicago house".
Pendleton's mother, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, went onstage but did not speak at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Two suspects, Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, were arrested and indicted with multiple counts of first degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated discharge of a weapon and many other charges. They told police that Pendleton was not the intended target. The group she was standing with was mistaken for members of a rival gang. A judge denied bail for the two gang members.
At the time of the shooting, Ward, the gunman, was on probation. In January 2012, he pleaded guilty to aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and was sentenced to two years of probation. Less than three months later, he was arrested and charged with breaking into a car. In July 2012, he was arrested for breaking into a different vehicle. In November 2012, he was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing. During his youth, he had also been arrested numerous times on charges ranging from robbery to battery to marijuana possession, and had spent time on juvenile probation.