According to the Chicago Tribune, two young men have been charged with murder in the shooting of Hadiya Pendleton.
The two suspects – 18 year-old Michael Ward and 20 year-old Kenneth Williams – were reportedly out for revenge after a previous shooting. They mistook a friend of Pendleton’s for a rival gang member.
Police cracked the case after using surveillance footage from the scene. The two were arrested while on their way to a strip club; Ward later confessed to the shooting.
McCarthy said that two days before the killing, police had stopped Ward in his Nissan Sentra as part of a routine gang investigation. That information wound up being the starting point for detectives when witnesses in the shooting described seeing a similar car driving away from the shooting scene, he said.
Through surveillance and interviews — including several fruitful interviews with parolees in the neighborhood — detectives were able to home in on Ward and Williams, McCarthy said. On Saturday night, the decision was made to stop the two if they were spotted. Police watched as they departed in a caravan of cars headed to the strip club in Harvey. They were stopped near 67th Street and South King Drive and taken in for questioning.
McCarthy said Williams was shot July 11 at 39th Street and South Lake Park Avenue, and an arrest was made. But that gunman was let go after Williams refused to cooperate, McCarthy said.
McCarthy also noted that at the time of Hadiya’s slaying, Ward was on probation for a weapons conviction. McCarthy said weak Illinois gun laws allowed Ward to avoid jail time because of the absence of mandatory minimum sentences.
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