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Two Reputed Gang Members Charged With Murder Of Hadiya Pendleton

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Feb 12, 2013 1:00AM

This post will be updated as information comes in.

The two men brought in for questioning in the murder of Hadiya Pendleton have been officially charged with murder. Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, each was charged with first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. See mugshots below.

Authorities say the two are members of the Gangster Disciples, and they were trying to retaliate against rival gang members responsible for shooting Williams in July. The two targeted the group because they mistakenly believed the gang members were among them.

Hadiya was shot and killed while huddled with a group during a rain storm on the afternoon of Jan. 29 in Vivian Harsh Park. Ward confessed to the shooting and is believed to be the gunman that jumped a fence and opened fire on the group, killing Hadiya and wounding two other teens.

Video surveillance and tips from community residents helped identify the car used in the shooting. The car was pulled over near 67th and South Chicago Avenue early Sunday, and the two were brought in for questioning. Detectives rushed to summon witnesses to identify them in lineups on Sunday. Police Superintendant Garry McCarthy confirmed Monday morning that police had two persons of interest in custody and that they anticipated to have charges filed this evening.

McCarthy said Monday evening that in July, Williams had refused to sign a complaint against those believed to be responsible for shooting him last summer, once again highlighting the issues with a "no snitching" culture impeding police investigations. Watch from McCarthy's press conference.

Hadiya's father Nathaniel Pendleton told the Tribune Monday night that he is "ecstatic that they found the two guys" and "thanking God that these two guys are off the streets.

Ward and Williams will appear in bond court Tuesday.

At left: Kenneth Williams, 20. At right: Michael Ward, 18.

In the video below, McCarthy announces charges against Williams and Ward at a press conference Monday evening.