First lady Michelle Obama is expected to attend Hadiya Pendleton's funeral this morning at Greater Harvest Baptist Church in the Washington Park neighborhood, about two miles from where the 15-year-old girl was gunned down last month.
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Hadiya was a majorette for King College Prep's band and performed during President Barack Obama's inauguration festivities just days before she was slain, shot in the back while hanging out with friends at a North Kenwood neighborhood park.
The shooter was after someone else, police said. No one is in custody.
Michelle Obama's plan to come to the funeral puts Chicago solidly in the middle of a national debate over gun violence that has polarized Congress and forced President Obama to take his gun control initiatives on the road to garner more public support.
The first lady's visit is being seen not only as a gesture of condolence to the family but as part of an effort to draw attention and support for the president's gun initiatives.
There were already about ten people lined up outside the church, 5141 S State St., as of 7 a.m.
The church is surrounded by an iron fence and all of the openings -- a pedestrian gate in the front, front and side doors to the church, and a driveway to the north -- are guarded by city police or men in white shirts, ties and long black coats.
The early arrivers are being held outside the gate while security officers move portable barriers toward the front entrance.
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SOURCE: Chicago Tribune