CHICAGO — Hundreds of mourners and dignitaries including first lady Michelle Obama stood and applauded the family of a 15-year-old Chicago girl for their strength Saturday, a week and a half after her death brought national attention to the city’s staggering gun violence.
A funeral service was held Saturday for Hadiya Pendleton, a band majorette who was shot and killed on Jan. 29, just a few days after performing for events surrounding President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Police say Pendleton was an innocent victim in a gang-related shooting.
Michelle Obama met privately with the family and accompanied the girl’s mother to the open casket at the front of a packed South Side church just before the start of the service.
Obama, who grew up on Chicago’s South Side, put her arm around Cleopatra Pendleton and patted her back. The woman threw her head back and wailed as the lid of her daughter’s flower-strewn casket was closed.
Rev. Michael Pfleger is speaking in this video: