Services began today for 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, whose shooting death has drawn national attention.
With a line stretching down the block, mourners began gathering outside the Calahan Funeral Home well before the doors opened at 2 p.m. Mourners who entered the funeral home were met with a new painting of Hadiya Pendleton.
The 15-year-old girl was shot to death last week on the city’s South Side, and has since become the face of gun violence that plagues the city and the nation. First Lady Michelle Obama will attend tomorrow’s funeral.
A family spokesperson said that the family graciously appreciates the first lady coming tomorrow. The spokesperson also said that Hadiya Pendleton’s parents will not be making a statement because they want the focus to be on Hadiya, an honor student at King College Prep.
Pendleton had recently participated in the president’s inaugural festivities in Washington only one week before she was gunned down about a mile from Obama’s home in the Kenwood neighborhood.
Mourners have been paying their respects all afternoon. Many are from the neighborhood and say they feel like they’ve lost their own child.
“It’s one of their own and they want to come out and support the family,” said Marlene Hughes.
The vast majority of those paying their respects do not know the Pendleton family personally, but want to show their support.
“I had two family members lost to gun violence, so I came out here to show my respects, because I know what they’re going through,” said Ricky Armstrong.
As for catching Pendleton’s killer, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says police have made progress, but so far, no arrests have been made.