Michelle Obama will attend the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton, the slain Chicago teen who performed at the Presidential Inauguration weeks after a petition was created for President Barack Obama to make an appearance.
Pendleton, 15, performed with her King College Prep High School drill team at the Inauguration of President Obama, but was fatally shot when she returned home from the festivities. Although a petition for the President to attend her funeral was created on The White House website, Mrs. Obama's representatives issued a statement saying that she would take his place at the funeral Saturday.
Kristina Schake, communications director for Michelle Obama, made a statement about the First Lady's attendance in The Chicago Tribune.
"As a mother and Chicagoan, the first lady was heartbroken to learn of the tragic loss of Hadiya Pendleton due to senseless gun violence," Schake said. "Too many times, we've seen young people struck down with so much of their lives ahead of them. The First Lady is traveling to her funeral on Saturday to offer her condolences and support to Hadiya's family and loved ones."
LaKeisha Stewart, Pendleton's godmother, said the family appreciated the support that they were receiving.
"It's a lot to take in. It's an overwhelming experience," Stewart told The Chicago Tribune. "We are very thankful the people are coming to support the family. We realize that this young lady has touched a lot of people and this goes beyond us."
After Pendleton's untimely death at Chicago's Harsh Park on Jan. 29, the President released a statement to express his condolences.
"The President and First Lady's thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hadiya Pendleton," White House spokesman Jay Carney said following her death.
Since her murder case is still unresolved, a $40,000 reward is being issued to anybody who has information about Pendleton's death.