Breaking News: Michelle Obama to attend Hadiya Pendleton funeral

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by Lisa Balde, NBC Chicago | February 7, 2013 at 1:46 PM

First Lady Michelle Obama plans to attend the funeral of a 15-year-old girl gunned down last week in Chicago, a White House source said.

The first lady will travel to Chicago on Saturday and attend the funeral for Hadiya Pendleton at Calahan Funeral Home, according to the source. She will attend along with Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Hadiya was killed last Tuesday at Kenwood Park on the city’s South Side days after she performed at some of President Barack Obama’s recent inauguration festivities. She was shot to death blocks from her school and about a mile from the president’s Chicago home.

The reward leading to her killer stands at $40,000.

A petition was started asking that Obama attend the funeral. Unconfirmed reports earlier this week said Michelle Obama had considered attending.

The Pendleton family’s pastor confirmed the president called Hadiya’s parents to offer his sympathies. “We thank him for that, and if he does come, that’s fine,” Pastor Courtney Maxwell said. “If he doesn’t, we know he sends his love.”

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn also will attend the funeral, set for 9 a.m. Saturday at the Greater Harvest Baptist Church, at 5141 S. State St. A visitation for the teen will be held Friday at Calahan Funeral Home, at 7030 S. Halsted St., from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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