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Michelle Obama to attend funeral of slain teen who had participated in inaugural festivities

WASHINGTON – First lady Michelle Obama plans to attend the funeral Saturday in Chicago of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, according to a White House official who asked not to be named.

Pendleton, an honor student and band majorette at King College Prep, was fatally shot last week about a mile from the Obamas’ home in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood. She had participated in inaugural festivities near Washington only a few days before her death.

The White House official said Thursday senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will also attend the funeral. Both are Chicagoans.

Pendleton was killed Jan. 29 at Harsh Park, becoming the latest symbol of Chicago’s gun violence. There is a $40,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in her death.

Community activists have urged the Obamas to visit Chicago to speak out about recent violence, and a petition on the White House website calls on them to attend Pendleton’s funeral.

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