Gun violence has inextricably joined Michelle and Barack Obama with a family from their Chicago neighborhood, and the president will give them a place of prominence during Tuesday night's State of the Union address.
Honor student Hadiya Pendleton had performed as a drum majorette at an event during Obama's second inauguration in Washington and was gunned down days later.
The presence of her father, Nathaniel, and mother, Cleopatra, sitting by the first lady's side, will be no coincidence and part of the president's message to the nation.
In his address, Obama will renew his support for the gun proposals he's already endorsed, including a ban on military-style assault weapons and bolstering background checks, officials have said.
Pendleton's alleged killers -- both of them gang members -- will appear in court for the first time Tuesday morning in Chicago, police there said. One of them confessed Monday, saying he mistook Pendleton and her friends for someone else.
The honor student was openly opposed to gang membership, taking to Twitter to discourage her followers from joining.
She was 15 when she died after being shot in the back at a playground in late January, in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, not far from the Obama family home.
The first lady attended her funeral.
The president will visit Chicago Friday to talk about gun violence in the wake of 500 shooting deaths in his home town in 2012. Pendleton was the 42nd victim shot dead in the city this year.
The killing has prompted a ranking Chicago police official to call for stricter penalties against gun offenses.