President Barack Obama Not Attending Slain Chicago Teen Hadiya Pendleton’s Funeral

President Barack Obama will not be in attendance at slain Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton’s funeral. First Lady Michelle Obama will attend instead.

Funeral services will be held Saturday morning at Greater Harvest Baptist Church.

“As a mother and Chicagoan, the first lady was heartbroken to learn of the tragic loss of Hadiya Pendleton due to senseless gun violence,” Kristina Schake, communications director for Michelle Obama, told The Chicago Tribune. “Too many times, we’ve seen young people struck down with so much of their lives ahead of them. The first lady is traveling to her funeral on Saturday to offer her condolences and support to Hadiya’s family and loved ones.”

Pendleton was shot and killed when a gunman opened fire on a group of friends she was hanging with after school. She was 15.

The Chicago Police Department has increased the reward for information leading to the arrest of Hadiya Pendleton’s murderer to $40,000. It was originally $24,000.

“We’ve got a lot of calls coming in,” Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said in a press conference. “We have to run down every single one of those tips.”

Chicago mayor Emanuel Rahm called for everyone to work together to protect the “children of the city of Chicago.”

When any young person in our city is gunned down without reason, their death makes an impression on all of us, and it demands action from all of us,” Emanuel said in a press conference. “As we grieve for Hadiya, we need to work together to protect our greatest resource — the children of the city of Chicago.”

Pendleton, who was shot in the back, succumbed to her injuries at the hospital. A 16-year-old boy was also shot during the attack.

Pendleton, a sophomore at King College Prep High School, traveled to Washington to perform with her school’s band at President Obama’s inauguration last Tuesday.

White House spokesman Jay Carney issued a statement calling the shooting a “terrible tragedy.”

The Obamas, he said, were praying for Pendleton’s family.

Much dialogue is needed to bring an end to the violence gripping the city of Chicago. Many are calling on President Obama to address the city’s murder rate, specifically in the black and Latino communities.

Aisha Truss-Miller and the Black Youth Project have created a petition on to request the President to come to Chicago to speak.

Miller lost a very close family member to gun violence. Miller’s cousin Leonard Truss was shot and killed by an AR-15 in front of his home just before his 18th birthday, according to Miller’s post on

Miller said Obama’s speech on Chicago gun violence “must be a substantive one, that includes specifics on the policies and programs his administration will initiate to save the lives and improve the futures of our young people.”

“We know that President Obama cannot solve the issue of gun violence alone,” she said. “However, he can call the nation to consciousness about the need for a response to this specific crisis that is affecting youth in cities like mine.

“President Obama rightly went to Newtown to comfort the families who lost children in that horrific tragedy, and now it is time he come home to Chicago and comfort the over 500 families who have lost loved ones to gun violence in the past year.”

To sign the petition calling on Barack Obama to address Chicago’s gun violence, click here.

Police are urging anyone with information to call (312) 747-8380.

Check out Pendleton’s anti-violence PSA below

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