The father of a news reporter who was gunned down in Southeast Washington last year will attend Tuesday's State of the Union address as the special guest of a local congresswoman.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said she invited Kenneth McClenton, the father of Charnice Milton, to Tuesday's address to help raise awareness about the need for gun safety legislation.
"Too many D.C. residents and other Americans across the country have experienced the overwhelming pain of losing a loved one to gun violence," Norton said. "I am welcoming Mr. McClenton to the State of the Union to honor the memory of his daughter and other families."
McClenton told News4 he agreed to attend because he never stops seeking justice for Milton and other murder victims.
"Homicide is happening in the District of Columbia ... it's happening. That's not because of someone's color of skin, that's not because someone's position on the Second Amendment, it's because of the flaw in the heart of men," he said.
McClenton has founded an organization dedicated to solving unsolved murders in D.C.
Milton, 27, was shot in May by someone riding a dirt bike as she waited for a bus in Southeast D.C. The shooter, riding in a group of dirt bike and ATV riders, was trying to shoot someone in another group of riders, police said.
No arrests have been made in her death.
"We have not forgotten Charnice, lost to us in the prime of a life full of accomplishments," Norton said.
A number of Americans who have lost loved ones to gun violence have been invited to President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address. Even the high-profile spot in the first lady's box will be notably empty in honor of victims of gun violence.
Obama is expected to make the case for tougher gun control laws during his speech. The series of proposals are designed to close holes in the federal background check system for gun purchases, devote millions of additional dollars to mental health services, and develop smart gun technology.