First Lady at shot girl's funeral
Published 09/02/2013 | 22:46
First lady Michelle Obama has consoled a distraught mother at the funeral of her teenage daughter - an innocent victim in a gang-related shooting.
Mrs Obama met privately with the family of Hadiya Pendleton in Chicago before the start of the service and accompanied the girl's mother to the open casket.
Mrs Obama put her arm around Cleopatra Pendleton and patted her back as the woman sobbed.
The first lady joined Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the service.
Composing herself, Mrs Pendleton told mourners that she tried to keep her daughter busy so she would be out of harm's way in a city plagued by gun violence.
She said no mother or father should have to bear such a loss. For those in the packed church who know what that pain was like, she expressed her sorrow.
Honours student Hadiya was shot and killed just a few days after performing as a majorette with the King College Prep band as part of the events surrounding President Barack Obama's inauguration.
Police say Pendleton was an innocent victim in a gang-related shooting.
Chicago pastor Michael Pfleger described Pendleton as the face of an "epidemic of violence causing funeral processions around the country".
He told the packed South Side church that "we must become the interrupters of funeral processions".
The service began with a standing ovation for "the strength of this family".