First lady Michelle Obama has announced that she will attend the funeral of Chicago teenager Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot dead in a park only a week after performing at President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
White House officials confirmed the news with the New York Times on Thursday, announcing that Obama would attend Pendleton’s funeral on Saturday in Chicago. Obama will be accompanied at the funeral by senior presidential aide Valerie Jarrett and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, both fellow Chicagoans.
Pendleton, 15, was shot and killed by a suspected gang member on Jan. 29, only nine days after she performed in Obama’s second inauguration with the King College Prep School Band.
Pendleton was taking shelter from the rain in a park close to her school. She was huddled together with about a dozen other people when a someone opened fire on the group, apparently believing that a rival gang member was present. Pendleton was shot and killed despite having no links to any Chicago gangs. No one has been arrested.
This was the 42nd murder in Chicago in 2013. Last year saw more than 500 homicides in Chicago, which has endured a plague of gang violence in recent years.
The park where Pendleton was shot is less than a mile from the Obamas’ home in the Kenwood district of Chicago.
Pendleton’s funeral will be held 10 a.m. Saturday at Chicago’s Greater Harvest Baptist Church.