Chicago police charge two gang members in Hadiya Pendleton murder

Two days after the funeral of 15-year-old Hadiiya Pendleton, the sophomore from Chicago's King High School who was murdered while seeking shelter during a rainstorm during a half-day of school (final exams), Chicago police announced the arrest of two local youths in the crimes. The charges for both are murder (as well as other charges).

Micheail Ward mugshot. Ward is charged with actually firing the shots, one of which killed Hadiya Pendleton. Chicago police photograph.According to a press release by Chicago police issued on the evening of February 11, 2013:

"Kenneth Williams, 20, of the 3900 block of S. Lake Park Ave. and Micheail Ward, 18, of the 300 block of W. 59th St. were charged in connection with the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton.

"Both offenders were charged with the following and are scheduled to appear in bond court in the morning. Mugshots attached.

"First Degree Murder

2 counts of Attempt First Degree Murder

2 counts of Aggravated Battery/Discharge Firearm"

Chicago police held a press conference at 7:00 p.m. on February 11, 2013 at the department's district detective headquarters at 51st and Wentworth.

Micheail Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, each were charged tonight with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, according to Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.

Hadiy Pendleton, a 10th grade student at King College Prep High School, was shot and killed on January 29, 2013 in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park a few blocks from the school, as she and several schoolmates sought shelter from the rain under a canopy. School had been dismissed early that day because the students were taking semester final exams. Two of her companions were also shot in the attack, but survived.

Kenneth Williams mugshot. Chicago police photograph.Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said the shooting was a case of mistaken identity. He said Ward was the shooter and that Ward was attempting to retaliate against rival gang members who had shot Williams last July. “The offenders had it all wrong,” McCarthy said. “They thought the group they shot into included members of a rival gang. Instead, it was a group of upstanding, determined kids like Hadiya who were repulsed by the gang lifestyle.”

Chicago police arrested the two men Saturday, February 9, at about the same time of the funeral. The men were driving to a strip club, McCarthy said, to celebrate a birthday. Ward has confessed to the murder, according to McCarthy. Both men are scheduled to appear in bond court Tuesday morning, February 12, at 26th and California in Chicago.“

McCarthy said that is was the Chicago Police Department’s gang surveillance and detective work that led to a break in this case, not the $40,000 reward that had been offered. According to McCarthy, the Williams shooting had been solved, but Williams himself refused to cooperate with police as a witness and instead planned "street justice" which resulted in the killing of Pendleton.

Police have not said which gang Williams and Ward belong to.