We've inched toward a bit of closure in what was one of the most heart-breaking stories coming out of this new year. On Monday, Chicago police charged two gang members with the murder of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old honor student gunned down just days after she performed for President Obama at the 57th presidential inauguration. "Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, are now charged with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm," reports Don Babwin with the AP. Police said the gunmen fired at a group of people Pendleton was standing with, because mistook one of them for a member of a rival gang, though none of them were actually associated with a gang.
Pendleton was killed on January 29, in the Hyde Park neighborhood where's Obama's Chicago home is located. Her death, along with the Newtown murders, have punctuated a national discussion on gun violence. Obama wrote Hadiya's parents a handwritten note which was published in her funeral program:
Dear Cleopatra and Nathaniel, Michelle and I just wanted you to know how heartbroken we are to have heard about Hadiya's passing.
We know that no words from us can soothe the pain, but rest assured that we are praying for you, and that we will continue to work as hard as we can to end this senseless violence.
God Bless, Barack Obama.
Michelle attended the funeral on Saturday and Pendleton's parents, according to Babwin, will be sitting with Michelle during tonight's State of the Union address. "Williams did not confess and police have not recovered a weapon ... Both are due in bond court Tuesday," report The Chicago Tribune's Jason Meisner and Jeremy Gorner.