Two Charged In Hadiya Pendleton Murder Case As Parents Plan To Attend State Of Union

Two suspects have reportedly been charged with the shooting murder of 15-year-old Chicago high school student Hadiya Pendleton. The news of the charges came Monday, the same day news broke that Pendleton's parents, Cleopatra Powley-Pendleton and Nathaniel Pendleton, will be attending the 2013 State of the Union address.

Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, were both brought up on charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder of two other teens shot during the incident and aggravated battery with a firearm, according to a Monday evening report in the Chicago Tribune.

The two Chicago men were arrested after being pulled over during the weekend, within hours of Pendleton's somber Saturday funeral, which was attended by first lady and South Side Chicago native Michelle Obama.

Pendleton's murder came less than two weeks after the high school sophomore performed as a King College Prep band majorette at President Barack Obama's second inauguration in Washington, D.C.

Hadiya was shot on Jan. 29 in Chicago's Harsh Park -- where she was taking shelter from the rain with a group of school friends shortly after class let out for the day -- when a gunman climbed a fence and opened fire on the teenage students, before escaping via car, police told the Tribune.

The shooting incident was first reported by police as a case of gang-on-gang violence, but police eventually recanted that appraisal of the situation and said Pendleton's group did not have gang ties and the gunman may have thought they were gang members, the Tribune reported.

Pendleton's murder has been cast as emblematic of the gun violence scourge that has swept Chicago in recent years and thrown the city into the center of the nationwide debate over guns that has gripped Americans since the December shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., left 20 children, six adults and the gunman, Adam Lanza, dead.

The news of suspects being charged in Hadiya Pendleton's murder emerged just several hours after the Chicago Tribune reported that her parents will be attending Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday evening, during which he is expected to speak about gun violence, gun control and other related issues.

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