Mother Of Chicago Shooting Victim Asked To Attend State Of The Union: Suspects Have Been Arrested (with Photos & Video)

By Emma Koch


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February 12, 2013 Updated Nov 9, 2013 at 10:31 AM EDT

CHICAGO, Ill. (www.incnow.tv) -- The mother of Hadiya Pendleton, victim of gun-violence in Chicago, will be in the audience for the State of the Union.

According to White House aides, Cleopatra Cowley, Pendleton's mother, was invited to attend as a guest of the first lady. The first lady was in attendance at Pendleton's funeral Saturday.

The 15-year-old honor student, Pendleton, was shot in what police are saying is a misdirected gang-related retaliation on January 29. Police have charged two gang members, Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth William, 20, with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm.

Both were taken into custody late Saturday while they were on their way to a strip club and just hours after First Lady Michelle Obama and other dignitaries attended Pendleton's funeral.

The shooting came days after Pendleton performed during President Obama's inauguration festivities in Washington and about a mile from President Obama's Chicago home. Police say Pendleton was taking cover from the rain under a canopy in a park on the city's South Side with friends, when a man hopped over a fence and opened fire with a handgun on the crowd. Pendleton was struck in the back and died later that day. Two others were injured in the shooting.

According to police, Ward told investigators that he thought he was shooting into the crowd of a rival gang. Ward said the shooting was in retaliation for Williams being shot in the arm in July. Police say that Pendleton and her friends were not associated with any gangs.

With more than 40 homicides in Chicago in January and over 500 in the last year, gun violence has become a hot topic for the president. Pendleton's mother said that she is hoping that what happened to her daughter will have an impact and she is ready to hear what the president has to say Tuesday evening.

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