Janay Mcfarlane, the 18-year-old mother of a three-month-old baby from Chicago, was shot dead on the same day that her sister attended a speech by Obama advocating stringent gun control laws.
Mcfarlane was shot in the head around 11.30 p.m. Friday in an alley in the Jackson Street, North Chicago, Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd told the Chicago Sun-Times. Only hours earlier, her 14-year-old sister, Destini, sat a few feet away from President Barack Obama as he spoke about gun violence and the need to have stringent gun control measures at an event at Hyde Park Career Academy.
During Friday's speech, the president said: "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," the Guardian reported.
Destini, a student at Hyde Park, was part of a group of students who sat behind the president during his speech, in which he also paid tribute to Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl who was shot dead in the South Side in January after a case of mistaken identity.
Mcfarlane was also a student of Hyde Park but discontinued studies after she became pregnant. However, Mcfarlane opted to pursue graduation in an alternate school and was supposed to have completed it, Chicago Sun-Times reported, citing her mother. Her mother also pointed out how Mcfarlane was moved by the tragic death of Pendleton and always expressed her grief over the incident.
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“She was always touched by any kid that got killed. She was always touched by mothers who couldn’t be there for their babies because they were gone,” her mother told the newspaper.
Mcfarlane was in Chicago visiting her friends and family, and the bullet that hit her was reportedly meant for a friend. Ironically, the bullet that killed Pendleton was also meant for someone else.
Two suspects have been arrested by police in connection with Mcfarlane’s death.
The killings have triggered a debate on the need for stringent gun control legislation in the city of Chicago, which has experienced unprecedented gun violence in the past month. According to an Associated Press report, in January, more than 40 homicides were reported in Chicago, making it the deadliest month in a decade.