According to a Chicago Tribune report, Chicago police are claiming on Monday that two Chicago gang members that were charged in the high-profile death of Hadiya Pendleton on Jan. 29 on Chicago’s South Side thought the 15-year-old girl and her friends were other persons when they attacked the group with gunfire at Harsh Park. The assailants thought the group included members of a rival gang that had shot one of their gang members over the summer. They were wrong in their assumption as Pendleton and the persons with her were not in a gang.
UPDATE: The court has denied bond for the two men charged with the murder.
Garry McCarthy, the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, announced that first-degree murder charges have been filed against Michael Ward, 18 and Kenneth Williams, 20. The deadly incident occurred as a case of mistaken identity retaliation towards a gang that shot Williams in the arm last July. It is being reported that Ward and Williams were in the SuWu gang and incorrectly thought the students at the park were in the rival 4-6 gang.
Detailing the incident, it has been reported that Pendleton and a group of others were under a canopy to stay out of the rain in a park on Chicago’s South Side when a gunman jumped a fence and ran towards the group firing a handgun. After Pendleton was shot in the back – and killed – and two others were injured, the gunman got in a waiting car that sped off.
McCarthy was quoted as saying:
Ward confessed and indicated Hadiya was not the intended target. They got it all wrong.
Ward, the cooperative suspect of the two, was cooperative with the police and admitted that he was the gunman. Williams who refused to be cooperative with the police was the one who drove the getaway car.
The two men were arrested as they were on their way to a strip club on Saturday night, the night of the day in which Michelle Obama and other political dignitaries attended Pendleton’s funeral in Chicago. The two are also being charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm.
The deadly incident made headlines due to the fact that it occurred just a mile away from President Barack Obama’s South Side Chicago home and because the story included the fact that the young honor student had just performed as a member of a Chicago’s King Prep School band as a high school majorette at Obama’s second inauguration a week earlier than the shooting.
The incident put Chicago back in the headlines as the murder capital of the world as Pendleton’s death was at the end of one of Chicago’s most deadly months in its history.