Hadiya Pendleton: Gang Member Confesses to Slaying of Chicago Teen

Hadiya Pendleton's parents say they are somewhat relieved that two men are under arrest in connection with the murder of their daughter, an honors student who had marched as a majorette at President Obama's second inauguration.

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CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT / handout / EPA

Michael Ward, 18 and Kenneth Williams, 20, suspects in connection with the alleged shooting death of 15 year old Hadiya Pendleton.

The two men charged in the January shooting death of Chicago teenager Hadiya Pendleton were gang members who were looking for revenge when they opened fire on the 15-year-old and a group of her friends in a South Side park, according to a statement one of them has given to Chicago police.

Michael Ward, 18 and Kenneth Williams, 20 were both charged with first degree murder Monday in the Jan. 29 homicide, which took the life of the honors student who had just days before performed as a majorette in the presidential inauguration parade with her school. Additional charges include attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm. At a Tuesday hearing, both were ordered held without bail.

(MORE: Q&A — Guns, Cities and the Death of Hadiya Pendleton)

Pendleton, an honors student at King College Prep High School,  was sheltering from the rain along with a group of friends after taking exams when a gunman jumped a fence and ran toward the group, firing at them and fatally wounding Pendleton.

Chicago police say the suspects were attempting to retaliate for a shooting that wounded Williams last July. Ward told police that they mistook one of the youths in the group for the shooter in that incident. The two suspects got out of their car, approached the teens and opened fire, then quickly jumped into their car and fled the scene, which was in a neighborhood that sits about a mile from President Obama’s home.

Hadiya Pendleton

dnainfo.com

Hadiya Pendleton, 15, a student at King College Prep, was killed Jan. 29 at a Chicago park near her school, authorities said.

“Michael Ward has confessed and indicated that Hadiya was not the intended target,” said Chicago police superintendent Gerry McCarthy at a press conference. “In fact, the offenders had it all wrong. They thought the group they shot into included members of a rival gang.” The suspects were apprehended and brought in for questioning on Saturday, McCarthy said.

First Lady Michelle Obama had attended Hadiya’s funeral only hours earlier.

(MORE: Chicago Girl Who Performed at Obama’s Inauguration Killed in Shooting)

Ward, who was already on probation for unlawful use of a firearm after pleading guilty in a 2011 arrest, had first been spotted and stopped by police last week as part of a gang investigation. But his car was described by witnesses as being similar to the one seen driving away from the scene of the shooting. Cooperation from several people in the neighborhood gave detectives enough clues to focus on Ward and Williams, prompting authorities to bring them in. Police have not recovered a weapon in the case and Williams has not yet confessed to the crime.

The shooting — of a promising young student with ties to a President who has made curbing gun violence a priority of his Adminstration —  has become a flashpoint in ongoing national debate over gun control. The arrests come as the teenager’s parents prepare to attend the State of the Union address on Tuesday as guests of the Obamas, at which the President is expected to discuss his plans for gun control.

Nathaniel Pendleton, Hadiya’s father, told the Chicago Tribune that he is “thanking God that these two guys are off the streets, so that this doesn’t happen to another innocent person.”

7 comments
KeemaBonner
KeemaBonner

I think that her family kan start to grive over their baby now knowing that justice for their baby gurl has been serve and that they got what they had coming. Even tho they are in jail for the rest of their life its a gud thing in a bad due to da fact that it does not bring Hadiya back n thats her family  biggest regret right nw but da gud thing is that she is nw one of gods beutiful angels and its not goodbye its i will c u again when its my turn to leave the world.

BettyJenkum
BettyJenkum

The City of Chicago as good as murdered her. No way Ward should have been on the street after a January weapons charge. Rage can't describe how angry I am at the incompetent criminals running the government!

KaiseonaBrandyceLockhart
KaiseonaBrandyceLockhart

YALL TOOK A DREAM FROM A 15 YEAR OLD SAD HER PARENTS DID NOT GET A CHANCE TO SAY GOODBYE NO PARENT SHOULD HAVE TO BURIE THERE CHILD

DeeKnowles
DeeKnowles

It had nothing to do with looks. It has a lot to do with how she was taken out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

EnigmaShotU
EnigmaShotU like.author.displayName 1 Like

It's really sad that it had to happen but in all honesty, several innocent young bright teens are murdered in chicago each week. Not a single one of them are highlighted as much as this young lady. If it were someone less attractive I doubt anyone would even give a damn. It's just my opinion and if you don't like it then oh well.

LeeEun-Mi
LeeEun-Mi

@EnigmaShotU 

I agree with you. I think the shooters should look at themselves before doing a crime.

LeeEun-Mi
LeeEun-Mi like.author.displayName 1 Like

It's sad to see a precious life being taken by criminals. Even though I don't know Hadiya because i live in NY, but she looks sweet and she is the light in her parents' eyes. I really don't understand why innocent lives are being taken constantly. Sandy Hook, then this! 

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