Two men have been charged in the shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton. Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 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, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Chicago police took two persons of interest into custody Sunday in connection with the death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton. The city mourned the teenager during a funeral service Saturday, with first lady Michelle Obama and Mayor Rahm Emanuel among those in attendance. Police spokeswoman Melissa Stratton said that Emanuel had contacted the girl’s family on Sunday to inform them of the advancement in her case. The two persons of interest have been identified as ages 18 and 20, but no names or potential charges have been released.
Pendleton was killed in Chicago’s Hyde Park on Jan. 29, just a mile away from her high school and President Obama’s Chicago home. Police believe that the shooting was gang-related, and that Hadiya was not intended as the target. She was an honor student at King College Prep. and had performed with the school’s band during Obama’s inauguration ceremony.
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Her death has become a rallying cry for Chicago residents, who have been the target of an overwhelming increase in homicides dating back to last year, when more than 500 killings were reported. Hadiya was one of 42 people killed during January in Chicago, the highest number for the city in more than 10 years.
President Obama wrote the girl’s family a handwritten letter, delivered by his wife during Saturday’s funeral. “We know that no words from us can soothe the pain, but rest assured that we are praying for you, and that we will continue to work as hard as we can to end this senseless violence,” it read in part.
With Hadiya now laid to rest, and police finally making headway in the case, her family, and the city of Chicago may find closure.