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Michelle Obama to attend slain Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton's funeral

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Michelle Obama will travel to Chicago on Saturday and attend the funeral of a 15-year-old girl gunned down last week in Chicago, the White House confirmed Friday.

The first lady was not expected to speak, sources told NBC Chicago.

Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will also make the trip from Washington, D.C., to attend the service for Hadiya Pendleton at the Calahan Funeral Home on the 7000 block of South Halsted Street.

"That's a step in the right direction," the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Thursday. "Their coming give us a sense that somebody at the highest levels of government cares, and that is a big deal."

Pendleton was killed last Tuesday at Kenwood Park on the city's South Side days after she performed at some of President Barack Obama's recent inauguration festivities.

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.

She was shot to death blocks from her school and about a mile from the president's and first lady's Chicago home.

"After all, this is in her neighborhood. This is less than a mile from the First Lady's house, and her children must walk these same streets, and so I'm sure that Michelle is acutely sensitive to just how close this is to her own family," Jackson said.

Friends of Hadiya Pendleton share their memories of the Chicago teen shot days after performing at some of President Obama's recent inauguration festivities.

Read more from NBCChicago.com

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said he believes Michelle Obama's visit "is rightfully bringing attention to the problems that every urban center in this country is experiencing every single day."

The reward leading to Pendleton's killer stands at $40,000.

A petition was started asking that Obama attend the funeral. Unconfirmed reports earlier this week said Michelle Obama had considered attending.

The Pendleton family's pastor confirmed the president called Hadiya's parents to offer his sympathies.

"We thank him for that, and if he does come, that's fine," Pastor Courtney Maxwell said. "If he doesn't, we know he sends his love."

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn also will attend the funeral, set for 9 a.m. Saturday at the Greater Harvest Baptist Church, at 5141 S. State St.


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Family of slain Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton preparing for her funeral