Discuss as:

Family of slain Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton preparing for her funeral

Two days after a teen who performed at President Obama's inauguration weekend was gunned down, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is set to yank 200 cops from desk jobs and make them fight crime on the streets. NBC's Kevin Tibbles reports.

Hadiya Pendleton's family faced the most heart-breaking of tasks Thursday: choosing the dress the 15-year-old shooting victim will wear at her funeral.


"It's been 48 hours of nothing but love, but now they need some time alone," cousin Shatira Wilks said.

The Chicago teen's death on Tuesday -- just a week after she performed during President Barack Obama's inaugural festivities -- put her loved ones in the spotlight.

They consoled the high school sophomore's many friends and cousins. They met with the mayor and spoke to the city's top cop.


Then they asked to be left alone for a day, so they could finalize plans to say farewell to a girl whose death had made headlines across the country and to grieve together.

For Pendleton's 10-year-old brother, Nate, known as Junior, that meant spending time in his big sister's now-empty room.

"He has been sleeping in her bed at night," Wilks said. "It's really sad. He was a serious little brother. And she loved being a big sister."

Pendleton was gathered with fellow members of the volleyball team in a park near the selective King College Prep High School when a gunman opened fire on the group Tuesday afternoon.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Hadiya Pendleton's parents, Nate and Cleo, and her 10-year-old brother, whom she called Junior.

Police believe the shooter mistakenly thought the teens were members of a rival gang hanging out on disputed turf. He has not been caught.

Pendleton's mother, Cleopatra Cowley, told MSNBC's Al Sharpton on Thursday how she was at work when she got the call that her daughter had been shot.

"I took the first cab I could come across to get to my baby," she said, racked with sobs. "Never in a million years did I imagine I would be getting a call that my baby was shot."

She spoke of her daughter's love of books, her wide-eyed trip to Washington and her promising future.

"She loved life ... and she didn’t want to be anything more than she was – and that was just 15," Cowley said.

The pastor of the family's church said there is a sliver of consolation in the knowledge that the teen's death is stirring more debate about crime and guns in a city where more than 500 people were murdered last year.

"Something has to be done," Pastor Courtney C. Maxwell said, not long after Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced he was putting 200 more cops on the street. "I pray something positive comes out of this."

He said he had known Pendleton for about five years and was working on the tribute he will read to mourners at the Greater Deliverance Temple Church.

"What do you say about a young person to her hurt parents, to a hurt community, to a hurt nation?" he said.

Chicago teenager Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed Tuesday, a victim of gun violence. Her death is inspiring people around the country to push for change to gun laws. Hadiya's mother Cleo Cowley shares her story with Rev. Al Sharpton.

Related: