(CHICAGO) — Chicago Police believe they have solved last month’s murder of a high school student who played with her marching band in Washington, D.C. during the inaugural ceremonies.
First-degree murder charges were filed Monday against two men for the shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton. Authorities say the suspects, Kenneth Williams, 20, and Michael Ward, 18, are gang members. Ward was on probation, according to Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.
“He was arrested in 2011 for UUW, unlawful, unlawful use of a firearm, and if mandatory minimums existed in the state of Illinois, Michael Ward would not have been on the street to commit this heinous act,” McCarthy said Monday.
Pendleton, an honors student, was shot and killed Jan. 29 while standing with a group of friends in a park located about one mile from the Obama family’s Chicago residence on the city’s South side.
“They [the suspects] were attempting to retaliate for a previous shooting where Williams was shot in July of , and just to kind of complete the circle, in that shooting we made an arrest,” McCarthy said. “Williams refused to prosecute that arrest.”
McCarthy added that Michael Ward has confessed to the shooting, but noted that Ward indicated that Pendleton was not the intended target.
After First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Chicago Saturday to attend Pendleton’s funeral, the fallen teen’s parents have been invited to be present in the House chamber for President Obama’s State of the Union address.
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Jose Pagliery, CNN
Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN
Tana Bolinger, FamilyShare