CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago honor student whose killing catapulted her into the nation's debate over gun violence is being remembered as a typical teenager.
Hundreds of mourners and dignitaries including first lady Michelle Obama packed a church on the city's South Side today for the funeral for 15-year-old Hadiya (hi-DEE'-uh) Pendleton.
One speaker after another remembered the teenager not so much as a symbol but as a best friend, an excellent student with dreams of going to college and a sometimes goofy girl with a bright smile and big personality.
To her mother, Pendleton was the daughter she tried to keep busy so she'd be beyond the reach of the seemingly endless gang violence in Chicago. Cleopatra Pendleton told mourners "No mother, no father should ever have to experience this."
The teen was shot and killed Jan. 29 as she stood with friends at a park about a mile from President Barack Obama's Chicago home. Just days before, the band majorette was among the performers during events for Obama's inauguration. Police say Pendleton was an innocent victim in a gang-related shooting.
Michelle Obama met privately with the family and some of Pendleton's friends before the service.