(CBS) – Crowds of mourners on Friday filed past the open casket of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old Chicago girl who performed at President Obama’s inauguration activities only to be gunned down days later on the South Side.
Hadiya’s mother was escorted into Callahan Funeral Home by Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. Mrs. Pendleton was too distraught to talk; a cousin spoke on behalf of the family.
“Our family is miserable,” Shatira Wilks said.”Hadiya is no longer here.”
Even before the doors of the funeral home were opened in the afternoon, the line of people waiting to pay their respects to the teen stretched down the block.
Among them: Ida Mallett, who didn’t know Hadiya but felt compelled to be there and walk past the casket.
“She’s so beautiful. She just looked like an angel laying there,” she said.
Street cops stopped in to pay their respects. Also grieving were the number of young people who had grown up with Hadiya.
“It’s really hard to imagine my best friend being gone,” Amber Mitchell tells CBS 2’s Mike Parker. “We had made so many plans together.”
Hadiya’s Jan. 29 shooting in the 4400 block of South Oakenwald Avenue was apparently random. Authorities have said a gang member mistakenly thought someone in her group of friends was a rival and fired at them.
The crime near Obama’s Kenwood home has highlighted gun-related deaths in Chicago and struck a chord with the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama and administration officials are expected to attend Hadiya’s funeral on Saturday at Greater Harvest Baptist Church.
Haidya had performed with the King College Prep High School marching band in Washington last month as part of inauguration festivities.
Police on Friday indicated a break in the case may be near.