Two men have been charged in the shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton. According to reports, the Chicago teen was a victim of mistaken identity.
The suspects are Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, and they have been charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm. Along with Pendleton’s death, their attack left two others wounded.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
Ward and Williams told police that they were en route to a strip club in Harvey when they were arrested Saturday night–just hours after Hadiya’s funeral, said Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy in a news conference at Area Central police headquarters this evening.
Williams, of the 300 block of West 59th Street, had been shot in July, but refused to sign a complaint against those police suspected in that attack. Williams and Ward targeted the group Hadiya was with because they believed, mistakenly, they were members of the gang responsible for that shooting.
Pendleton’s murder became a national story, shining a light on the gun violence epidemic plaguing Chicago and particularly its youth. She was also a majorette in her King College Prep high school’s band, which performed at Barack Obama’s inauguration shortly before her death.
As Hip-Hop Wired previously reported, there were 43 homicides in the Windy City in January 2013 alone.
Pendleton’s funeral was this past Saturday (Feb. 9) in Chicago and was attended by First Lady Michelle Obama. She was buried in Cedar Park Cemetery in Riverdale.
“I’m ecstatic that they found the two guys,” Hadiya Pendleton’s father, Nathaniel Pendleton, told the Chicago Tribune. “(I’m) thanking God that these two guys are off the streets, so that this doesn’t happen to another innocent person.”
The Pendleton family is currently in Washington, DC and will be guests of President Barack Obama at State Of The Union address Tuesday night.
Check out images of the two thugs as well as Pendleton’s home going in the gallery.
Photos: Chicago Tribube/Chicago PD