Pain Is 'Indescribable' For Gun Victim Pendleton's Mother | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : Tell Me More

Filed Under:

Pain Is 'Indescribable' For Gun Victim Pendleton's Mother

Play associated audio

Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton was leading a meeting at work last month when she got a phone call any mother would call horrific. Her 15-year-old daughter, Hadiya Pendleton, had been shot while with friends on Chicago's South Side.

"I went into temporary shock, I grabbed my nearest coworker ... [and said] 'Help me understand what they're saying, because clearly they're not talking about my baby,'" she tells Michel Martin, host of NPR's Tell Me More. When she got to the hospital, a nurse told her Pendleton had died.

Hadiya Pendleton was shot just days after traveling to Washington, D.C., to participate in festivities surrounding President Obama's inauguration. Her death made national headlines, adding fuel to calls for stricter gun control and focusing attention on Chicago, where more than 500 people were killed last year.

But, Cowley-Pendleton says, the Chicago neighborhood wasn't the problem. "It wasn't that she was in a bad neighborhood and you would expect this bad crime to occur. She was in the right place, doing the right thing, and it was just a bad guy in the wrong place," she says.

This week, Cowley-Pendleton was a guest of the first lady at the State of the Union address. In calling on Congress to vote on his gun control plan, the president mentioned Pendleton, who was shot just a mile away from his Chicago house. Cowley-Pendleton said being there was difficult "because all you want is your baby back. But the reality is, you can't ... So to have someone as large as the president talk about your baby, it's an honor. It's an absolute honor."

When asked what should be done to curb gun violence, she says she still has a lot of reading and research to do about gun policy. But she says the country needs to start thinking about penalties for gun offenders that would make them think twice about their actions.

Cowley-Pendleton says her job now is to keep talking about her daughter's story, in hopes of informing the public debate and preventing future tragedies.

"Hadiya's been murdered. She's been buried now. But the pain — this pain — is indescribable. ... I would never, never want anyone to feel this pain. It's irrecoverable."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Stephen Hawking Says Zayn Malik Could Still Be In One Direction In A Parallel Universe

Millions of hearts were broken last month when Zayn Malik left One Direction, but according to physicist Stephen Hawking, that might not be the case after all.
NPR

Competitive Bartender Pours Father's Wisdom Into Signature Drink

Bartender Ran Duan will represent the U.S. in a Bacardi international cocktail competition. His specialty? "Father's Advice," a stirred-not-shaken cocktail that's a testament to his hardworking dad.
WAMU 88.5

Warren Weinstein's Death Has Local Lawmakers Debating Drone Policies

Lawmakers in the D.C. region are mourning the loss of Maryland native Warren Weinstein, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan. The killing has lawmakers debating drone policies once again.
NPR

How Tech Firms Are Helping People In The Nepal Earthquake Zone

Tech and telecom companies stepped up with much needed services. Facebook and Google offered tools to help those in the region let family and friends know they're OK. Other firms cut calling costs.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.