Two men charged with murdering inaugural performer

CHICAGOTwo men were charged with the murder of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old high school honors student who was gunned down at a Chicago Park in January just a week after she performed at President Barack Obama's inauguration festivities, CBS Chicago reports.

Michael Ward, left, and Kenneth Williams are charged in the death of Hadiya Pendleton.
Michael Ward, left, and Kenneth Williams are charged in the death of Hadiya Pendleton.
Chicago Police Department/CBS Chicago

Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, both of Chicago, each were charged Monday with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy announced at a news conference.

Hadiya was shot and killed on Jan. 29 in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park as she and about a dozen schoolmates were sheltering themselves from the rain under a canopy. Two of her peers were injured in the attack, which McCarthy said was a case of mistaken identity, as Ward and Williams sought retaliation on rival gang members.

Police arrested two suspects on Saturday and conducted lineups over the weekend.

About a week before the shooting, Hadiya performed as a majorette with her school band at President Barack Obama's inauguration festivities. According to news reports, her parents were joining First Lady Michelle Obama at the State of the Union address on Tuesday. The first lady attended Hadiya's funeral on Saturday.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he called Hadiya's parents about the arrests, according to CBS Chicago.

"I have called Cleo and Nate either every night or almost every night. When I have nothing to say except for I'm thinking of you and you're always in my prayers," said Emanuel.


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