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Michelle Obama at funeral for slain girl

Feb. 9, 2013 at 2:04 PM   |   Comments

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CHICAGO, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Michelle Obama joined thousands of other Chicagoans Saturday to mourn Hadiya Pendleton, a teen shot dead days after performing at the presidential inauguration.

Security was tight at the funeral at Life Center Church where a heart-shaped balloon was placed on the casket, the Chicago Tribune reported. People waited in long lines for admission to the church.

Hadiya, 15, was shot in the back in a neighborhood park Jan. 29. Investigators say she was not the shooter's target.

She was a majorette with the King College Prep band, which performed at President Barack Obama's inauguration in Washington Jan. 21.

The Rev. Elder Eric Thomas called Hadiya "genuine and real."

"She was energetic, loved music, loved the arts," the pastor said.

In addition to the first lady, whose Chicago home is about a mile from the park where Hadiya was shot, the mourners included U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

King College Prep majorettes wearing their black-and-yellow uniforms also were on hand. Trinity Dishmon, whose daughter was a friend of Hadiya, called the slain girl "a gift to everyone that knew her."

Antoine Fuller, 15, waited in line to get into the church with a small group of friends.

"This tears me up," he said. "She was my seventh-grade crush."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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