By Bridget Doyle, Chicago Tribune reporter
4:55 AM PST, February 27, 2013
First lady Michelle Obama said in a "Good Morning America" interview Tuesday that an automatic weapon was used in the shooting death of Hadiya Pendleton, but that detail — which is not supported by police accounts — was edited out when the interview was aired and posted to ABC's website.
The mention of automatic weapons and the subsequent editing by ABC were quickly swept into the politically charged environment surrounding gun control, becoming a hot topic on conservative blogs.
Police say they have not recovered the weapon used to kill Hadiya, but a day after her homicide on Jan. 29, Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the gunman possibly used a revolver because no bullet casings were found at the shooting scene — as there would be if a semi-automatic or automatic weapon had been used.
On Feb. 11, when authorities announced murder charges against two suspects, McCarthy said the only ballistics evidence recovered from the park where Hadiya was shot was a "partial bullet."
In the "Good Morning America" segment that aired Tuesday, the first lady met with host Robin Roberts and talked about, among other things, the death of 15-year-old Hadiya.
In the written version posted to ABC's website, Obama is quoted as saying:
"She was standing out in a park with her friends in a neighborhood blocks away from where my kids ... grew up, where our house is. She had just taken a chemistry test. And she was caught in the line of fire because some kids had some automatic weapons they didn't need. I just don't want to keep disappointing our kids in this country. I want them to know that we put them first."
However, in the video clip that appears online, the mention of "automatic weapons" was edited out:
"She was standing out in a park with her friends in a neighborhood blocks away from where my kids grow — grew — up, where our house is. … And she was caught in the line of fire. ... I just don't want to keep disappointing our kids in this country. I want them to know that we put them first."
ABC issued the following statement from a network spokeswoman:
"The full story was posted to our website in advance of the interview being broadcast. The edits made to Robin's interview with the first lady were made solely for time."
Hadiya, a high school honor student whose King College Prep majorette squad participated in inaugural festivities last month, was killed in Harsh Park, about a mile from the Obamas' Kenwood home. Michelle Obama attended Pendleton's funeral Feb 9.
Requests to the first lady's press office for comment were not immediately returned.
Tribune reporter Jeremy Gorner contributed.
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