Nation reacts to death of slain teen performer - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Nation reacts to death of slain teen performer

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WASHINGTON (Associated Press) -

The gun control debate is getting louder and it's getting heated. This time, the conversation has turned to Hadiya Pendleton who was a model student with a bright future.

SEE: Teen killed in Kenwood 1 week after attending Obama inauguration

Reaction to Pendleton's violent death is pouring in from City Hall, Capitol Hill and all the way from the White House.

Press secretary Jay Carney said during a press briefing Wednesday that, "It's a terrible tragedy any time a young person is struck down with so much of their life ahead of them. The president and first lady's thought and prayers are with the family of Hadiya Pendleton."

The tragedy hitting very close to home for the president, as the honor student was killed just eight blocks from President Obama's Hyde Park/Kenwood home.

"While you say it's a mile from the president's house, wherever it happens in the city of Chicago is where I consider it," Mayor Emanuel said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he spoke with Pendleton's mother, Cleopatra; not as a mayor, but as a parent. He became emotional as he spoke about the honor student, during an unrelated news conference

"I want everyone in city of Chicago to know look at her and how she talked about her future," Rahm said. "She took final exams, had dreams, and this gang banger, this punk and took that away from Cleopatra, took away from Hadiya, and took away from city of Chicago."

The story of the young girl went viral online, coinciding with Chicago's bloodiest month in a decade.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun control Wednesday, Senator Dick Durbin drew attention to the 15-year-old, saying the biggest problem in Chicago is the prevalence of guns.

"She was an honor student and a majorette and she marched in the inaugural parade last week," Durbin said. "We are awash in guns....the confiscation of guns per capita in Chicago is six times the number of New York City. We have guns everywhere."

The talk Wednesday focused on how to reduce gun violence and the White House pushed for "common sense measures."

Senator Durbin said we need to reduce the number of guns on the streets, while Mayor Emanuel said he is talking with Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy about "other tactics" they can implement to get gun violence down.

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