Two men have been arrested in the connection of murdered honor roll teen, Hadiya Pendleton.
Michael Ward (left), 18, and Kenneth Williams (right), 20, both of Chicago, were charged with one count each of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm in the Jan. 29 attack that also wounded two other teens.
Chicago police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Ward (left pic) confessed to being the shooter, telling police that Pendleton was not his intended target. The intended recipient for Ward’s bullet, McCarthy told reporters, were members of a rival gang. The shooting was supposed to have been in retaliation for a previous shooting last July which injured Williams, McCarthy said.
The arrests come a day after First lady Michelle Obama attended Saturday’s funeral for Hadiya, a honor student and band majorette. Other dignitaries at the funeral included Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush.
Hadiya and friends had taken cover from the rain under a canopy in a park about a mile from the Obama home on the city’s South Side. Police said a man hopped a fence, ran toward the group and opened fire with a handgun, striking Hadiya in the back as she tried to run. Police said she was an innocent victim of a gang-related shooting.
Her slaying brought new attention to Chicago’s homicide rate, and came in a January that was the city’s deadliest in a decade. In 2012, Chicago recorded 506 homicides.