WBEZ | gangs http://www.wbez.org/tags/gangs Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Global Activism: 'ConTextos' finds the good in violent El Salvador http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-contextos-finds-good-violent-el-salvador-112164 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/GA-ConTextos.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-cdf0efc7-d9dd-8dbb-a7b5-5af3d50420b2">Because Chicagoan and Global Activist, Debra Gittler, &nbsp;wanted to &ldquo;create conditions on-the-ground through literacy education, opportunity and advocacy&rdquo; to help children in Central America thrive, she started the organization <a href="http://contextos.org/">ConTextos</a> and moved to El Salvador. For our Global Activism segment, Gittler is back from El Salvador and will update us on her progress since expanding her mission to work with prisoners in El Salvador&rsquo;s criminal justice system.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/207688530&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 28 May 2015 09:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-contextos-finds-good-violent-el-salvador-112164 Former gang member describes transformation http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/former-gang-member-describes-transformation-110565 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/sc_0.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Carlos Kasper, 26, has already learned more about himself than most people ever do. Kasper grew up in Little Village and was raised by his step-dad and his mom &ndash; who struggled to make ends meet. &ldquo;We grew up in the gang culture,&rdquo; Kasper said in a recent StoryCorps interview. &ldquo;[We would] smoke a lot of weed, listen to a lot of gangster rap, hang out with the guys from the block.&rdquo;</p><p>As a kid he had a lot of pent-up anger and frustration. But his brother and cousins kept him out of the gangs&hellip;for a while, at least.</p><p>There was a period towards the end of high school, when Kasper learned community organizing techniques. But he soon became disillusioned with the non-profit world when he realized their focus was on eradicating gangbangers in Little Village.&nbsp; &ldquo;I took it very personal,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>&ldquo;Because a lot of my family is gangbangers. And I knew them and they weren&rsquo;t these savages or these evil people. They&rsquo;re just regular people who just chose another lifestyle.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Gangbangers are people&rsquo;s sons, people&rsquo;s brothers, people&rsquo;s cousins, people&rsquo;s fathers,&rdquo; he continued.</p><p>&ldquo;These [community organizer] people are acting like they&rsquo;re aliens, murderers, running around wildly.&rdquo;</p><p>Little by little, he transitioned into gang life. He appreciated the sense of brotherhood that he got as a gang member and the looks he&rsquo;d get from people who were intimidated by him.</p><p>Then he got locked up for two months in the county jail. &ldquo;I had all these problems that I didn&rsquo;t let out,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;But I didn&rsquo;t take care of the root base of my deep personal issues.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m glad I got locked up,&rdquo; Kasper said. &ldquo;There was just so much time to think, so much time for reflection, so much time for meditation, exercise. And when I came out, I came out a whole different person.&rdquo;</p><p>When he got out, he refused to take orders from some gang leaders. He still valued his fellow gang members and their ideals, but he wanted to make a change for himself.</p><p>In order to get out of the gang, he agreed to a &ldquo;violation,&rdquo; which meant that he was beat up from head to toe, for three minutes by his fellow gang members, two at a time, each guy taking five to ten seconds. By the end of it, his bones were aching and he couldn&rsquo;t lift his arms above his shoulders.</p><p>He believes he ended things on good terms with the gang. &ldquo;I feel really strong being able to step in front of them without insulting them and telling them that they were my brothers and I love them, but I can&rsquo;t do these things anymore because my life had changed.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I was real with them. I kept it genuine. And I really loved them and I showed them that.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/former-gang-member-describes-transformation-110565 On day of his bond, Chicago man's actions lead to 25 more years in prison http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/day-his-bond-chicago-mans-actions-lead-25-more-years-prison-109861 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/DSC_9918.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Twelve years ago, gang member Carlos &ldquo;Bear&rdquo; Rocha of Chicago&rsquo;s Southwest Side was imprisoned for possession of a weapon. On the day of his bond, he and another inmate had a disagreement that turned tragically violent. Bear was sentenced to another 25 years behind bars. It wasn&rsquo;t until Bear&rsquo;s brother suffered a similar fate&mdash;in prison on the day of his own release&mdash;that Bear realized the full consequences of his actions.</p><p><strong>CARLOS:</strong> I broke down because I thought that it was karma for what I had done. I thought that it was punishment for taking some else&rsquo;s life here.</p><p dir="ltr">To find out how Bear is trying to mend his ways and reckon with the past, check out the audio above.</p><p><em>Meredith Zielke is a WBEZ producer.&nbsp;</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 14 Mar 2014 12:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/day-his-bond-chicago-mans-actions-lead-25-more-years-prison-109861 Daley Academy students illustrate effects of gun violence http://www.wbez.org/news/daley-academy-students-illustrate-effects-gun-violence-109013 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 5.29.18 PM.png" alt="" /><p><p>On September 19th, 2013, 13 people were wounded in a shooting at Cornell Square Park in Chicago&#39;s Back of the Yards neighborhood. Directly across from that park is Richard J. Daley Elementary Academy &mdash; a school that&#39;s been affected by gun violence not just in the park, but all over the neighborhood.</p><p>This week, Daley Academy hosted a special art show in partnership with the Illinois Coalition against Handgun Violence. WBEZ Reporter Lauren Chooljian visited the one-day-only exhibit, where a group of 25 seventh graders stood proudly behind their works, done in marker and ink, and all inspired by gun violence.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/lchooljian-0">Lauren Chooljian</a> is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</p></p> Fri, 25 Oct 2013 17:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/daley-academy-students-illustrate-effects-gun-violence-109013 Morning Shift: Black-on-black crime http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-18/morning-shift-black-black-crime-108098 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Crime-Flickr- Alessio Centamori PH.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago has become the poster child for violence, but none more pervasive than black-on-black crime. With black youths facing so many obstacles, how do we ensure that their futures can be bright, or that they will have a future at all?</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-black-on-black-crime.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-black-on-black-crime" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Black-on-black crime" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Thu, 18 Jul 2013 08:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-18/morning-shift-black-black-crime-108098 Would legal pot hit Chicago gangs’ pocketbooks? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/would-legal-pot-hit-chicago-gangs%E2%80%99-pocketbooks-106938 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F90506668&amp;color=00e9ff&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Elmhurst resident Siva Iyer read Sudhir Venkatesh&rsquo;s pop academic book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Gang-Leader-Day-Sociologist-Streets/dp/B004E3XDFI">Gang Leader for a Day</a>, which got him thinking about the economics and industrial side of marijuana.</p><p>The culture around weed has changed over the years, enough that Colorado and Washington have legalized the drug. Is Illinois on the verge of putting legalization to a test? Not likely, but it&rsquo;s worth contemplating. Earlier this year the Illinois House passed a medical marijuana act. And the city of Chicago has decriminalized possession, a policy designed to free up police hours. Officers can now <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/has-idea-ticketing-pot-gone-smoke-104861">ticket</a> for possession of fewer than 15 grams.</p><p>Iyer, who works in the pharmaceutical industry, wondered how gangs would make up for any lost income if &mdash; one day &mdash; weed were sold on store shelves.</p><p>So Iyer asked Curious City:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>If Illinois legalizes marijuana, how could that affect the economics&nbsp;</em><em>of the drug trade among gangs?</em></p><p>The short answer is: not much.</p><p>Iyer and I went to visit Midwest drug czar Jack Riley in a downtown federal building. Riley is Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division for the Drug Enforcement Agency. The blunt-speaking agent described &nbsp;a &ldquo;very toxic&rdquo; and &ldquo;profitable&rdquo; relationship between Chicago street organizations and the Mexican cartels, but it doesn&rsquo;t revolve around weed.</p><p>&ldquo;If marijuana were to be legalized here,&rdquo; Riley said, &ldquo;it would in my opinion have virtually little or no effect on the income of gangs.&rdquo;</p><p>Frankly, marijuana can be a logistical nightmare, Riley explained. It smells. It&rsquo;s bulky. It&rsquo;s hard to store. And it&rsquo;s got a short shelf-life. That is, it&rsquo;s the exact opposite of Chicago gangs&rsquo; &nbsp;and cartels&rsquo; actual drug of choice: heroin.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SIVA%20FOR%20WEB_0.jpg" style="margin: 5px; float: right; height: 246px; width: 150px;" title="Siva Iyer got us started on this question." />Here are the economics, according to Riley: A pound of decent-grade marijuana can run between $1,400-1,500. A kilo of cocaine sells for about $40,000. The real cash maker, Riley said, is the more compact heroin, which goes for $60,000 a kilo. He said it arrives from Mexico 90 percent pure and is sold at a purity of nine &nbsp;to 12 percent on the street after being cut and pumped with additives.</p><p>Riley said in the local drug trade, rival gangs collaborate these days over the dealing of heroin.</p><p>&ldquo;They very seldom interacted with other gangs other than to fight. So their business relationships were siloed. If someone in that particular gang &mdash; we&rsquo;ll talk about the Gangster Disciples &mdash; if somewhere in the GDs, [if] they didn&rsquo;t have a connection to a Mexican source or supply, they simply couldn&rsquo;t get the drugs,&rdquo; Riley said. &ldquo;Well now, as long as everyone&rsquo;s making money from business, we do begin to see, for instance, the Gangster Disciples, the Latin Kings and other criminal organizations begin to work together.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/DRUG CZAR GUIDE.jpg" style="width: 350px; float: left; height: 245px;" title="Data courtesy of Special Agent Jack Riley (Graphic by Logan Jaffe)" />The <a href="http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2013/apr/01/ap-impact-cartels-dispatch-agents-deep-inside-us/">Sinaloa Cartel</a> uses Chicago as a hub to distribute throughout the Midwest. The cartel&rsquo;s equivalent of a CEO is <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/magazine/how-a-mexican-drug-cartel-makes-its-billions.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=1&amp;">El Chapo Guzman</a> and he&rsquo;s Chicago&rsquo;s Public Enemy No. 1. The last criminal bestowed with that title was Al Capone.</p><p>Riley said Mexican cartels still do the majority of trafficking of marijuana, but higher grades of marijuana arrive from the Pacific Northwest and Canada. At this point there&rsquo;s reason to suspect that &mdash; even if Illinois tokers could buy legal weed from corner stores &mdash; these folks would still stay in business.</p><p>&ldquo;Regardless of what we did on the legalization side, it would never eliminate the black market,&rdquo; Riley said.</p><p>I interviewed a guy who sells weed in the Chicago area. (For obvious legal reasons, he didn&rsquo;t want me to use his name.) He agrees with Riley and added, &ldquo;If they legalize it, I feel they gonna take all the good sh*t off the market and make it super expensive and sell all the bad sh*t for the legal consumption. I like it the way it is now.&rdquo;</p><p>He calls Mexican weed &ldquo;regular weed,&rdquo; lacking the potency of domestic marijuana. He said his weed comes from California and is known on the street as &ldquo;loud,&rdquo; which is a pun on the loud smell and signals that it was grown via hydroponics.</p><p>If Illinois legalizes marijuana, he said, the government would certainly tax the drug. But he explained that dealers already deal with a drug hierarchy and a tax of sorts: The weed connect sells to a middleman, who is charged a tax. That middleman might want to make $200 on the package, so he&rsquo;ll &ldquo;tax&rdquo; the next dealer.</p><p>But as the marijuana dealer I interviewed said, &ldquo;I can kind of deal with that than the government.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Natalie Moore is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">@natalieymoore</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 01 May 2013 14:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/would-legal-pot-hit-chicago-gangs%E2%80%99-pocketbooks-106938 Reporter's Notebook: If Illinois legalizes marijuana, how could that affect the economics of the drug trade among gangs? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/reporters-notebook-if-illinois-legalizes-marijuana-how-could-affect-economics <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/pot leaf.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="650" src="http://embed.verite.co/timeline/?source=0An_OJm0YASWadHhMMWQ4VHJmck5yMEdBNTlNRi1nZGc&amp;font=PTSerif-PTSans&amp;maptype=toner&amp;lang=en&amp;height=650" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/about-curious-city-98756">Curious City</a>&nbsp;is a news-gathering experiment designed to satisfy the public&#39;s curiosity.&nbsp;People&nbsp;<a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/ask">submit questions</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/ask">vote&nbsp;</a>for their favorites, and WBEZ reports out the winning questions in real time, on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/curiouscityproject">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/#!/WBEZCuriousCity">Twitter&nbsp;</a>and the timeline above.</p><p>Siva Iyer from Elmhurt&nbsp;asked:&nbsp;If Illinois legalizes marijuana, how could that affect the economics of the drug trade among gangs? WBEZ reporter Natalie Moore investigates.&nbsp;</p><p>Where do you think we should start this investigation? How would you answer this? Comment below!</p></p> Fri, 29 Mar 2013 15:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/reporters-notebook-if-illinois-legalizes-marijuana-how-could-affect-economics Crowds descend on downtown Chicago to protest school closings, 127 ticketed http://www.wbez.org/news/crowds-descend-downtown-chicago-protest-school-closings-127-ticketed-106311 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/8596861162_a734e7f296_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><object height="338" width="601"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633103902875%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633103902875%2F&amp;set_id=72157633103902875&amp;jump_to=" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633103902875%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633103902875%2F&amp;set_id=72157633103902875&amp;jump_to=" height="338" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="601"></embed></object></p><p>More than 100 people were cleared away by police at a Wednesday rally protesting Chicago Public Schools&#39;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-proposes-closing-53-elementary-schools-firing-staff-another-6-106202">proposal to close 54 schools</a>.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/civil-disobedience-revs-against-school-closings-106353" target="_blank">A group including teacher union officials, parents, janitors, lunch ladies and ministers sat down in front of City Hall. </a>Police asked each individual to leave. When they refused, police led them away.</p><p>The Chicago Police Department says it ticketed 127 people. At the rally, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis called the closings a &quot;land grab and a power grab,&quot; and said they were part of an attempt to privatize the school system. For more on the rally, see WBEZ coverage <a href="http://www.wbez.org/civil-disobedience-revs-against-school-closings-106353" target="_blank">here</a>.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wednesday stood by the district&#39;s decision to close schools, saying <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-addresses-race-chicago-school-closure-plan-106325" target="_blank">the status quo is not working</a>.</p><p>Prior to the protest, the CTU had been training parents, teachers and community organizations in civil disobedience and had said it planned for 150 people to be arrested . &nbsp;A <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/441102002634744/">Facebook </a>announcement for the rally warned, &ldquo;They want to shut down our schools, we&rsquo;ll shut down the city.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Chicago&rsquo;s pubic schools are out for spring break this week, leaving students and teachers free to join in the rush-hour rally, organized by the teachers union and a coalition of other unions and community groups.&nbsp; Chicago Public Schools erected barricades Monday outside its headquarters in preparation. &nbsp;A spokeswoman said that&rsquo;s common practice in situations where the district gets advance word of a protest.</p><p dir="ltr">Chicago Public Schools is also <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/leaked-memo-tells-principals-keep-eye-school-closings-protesters-106301">preparing principals for acts of civil disobedience</a> at their schools, though not necessarily today. A memo sent to principals at closing schools lists lockdowns, walk-outs, sit-ins and &ldquo;Occupy&rdquo; actions as possibilities. It outlines &ldquo;overall guidelines for the prevention of civil disobedience&rdquo; and suggests principals &ldquo;be approachable and supportive to feelings of unrest, anxiety, or dissatisfaction.&rdquo; It also instructs principals to &ldquo;observe and report all information regarding possible protestors, locations, dates and times,&rdquo; and to note which community organizations or news organizations are present.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-proposes-closing-53-elementary-schools-firing-staff-another-6-106202">In addition to closing 53 elementary schools</a> and one small high school, the district wants to completely re-staff six additional elementary schools. It is also proposing 23 schools share 11 buildings beginning next fall; some of those are new schools that will just be opening.</p><p dir="ltr">The district says closing the 54 schools will offer students a better education because it will allow scarce resources to be spread across fewer schools. Many of the schools slated for closure have fewer than 300 students. For the first time in more than a decade of school closings, CPS is saying it will put significant money into receiving schools, promising students air conditioning, libraries with new books, &ldquo;learning gardens&rdquo; and iPads, along with social workers and counselors to help students adjust.</p><p dir="ltr">The teachers union has said it wants no schools closed, and parents at the individual schools slated for consolidation have brought up their own concerns, from longer walks to school in winter weather to fear for their children crossing into rival gang territory.</p><p dir="ltr">Earlier this month in Philadelphia, 19 activists were arrested at a meeting where the Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted to close 23 schools; the head of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, was among those arrested. The Chicago Teachers Union says Weingarten, who appeared at rallies here during the teachers strike in September, is not expected to be in Chicago today.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Linda Lutton is an education reporter for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/wbezeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 27 Mar 2013 11:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/crowds-descend-downtown-chicago-protest-school-closings-127-ticketed-106311 Year 25: Ameena Matthews http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-ameena-matthews-105541 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79283061" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>It&#39;s hard to track down Ameena Matthews.</p><p>She&#39;s constantly on call, always ready to keep conflicts in the city&#39;s most&nbsp;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ameena.jpeg" style="float: right;" title="(Photo courtesy of Kartemquin Films)" />dangerous neighborhoods from escalating to homicide.</p><p>Matthews is a violence interrupter with <a href="http://cureviolence.org/">CeaseFire Illinois</a>. You may have seen her in the documentary <a href="http://interrupters.kartemquin.com/">The Interrupters</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>During a time where it seems everyone and anyone is talking about gun violence, we thought it fitting to see what Matthews has to say and what she was up to at 25.</p><p>She wasn&#39;t always the one breaking up the fights and trying to keep the peace &mdash; gang life was a big part of her growing up.</p><p>Her father, Jeff Fort, is one of Chicago&#39;s well-known gang leaders. And Matthews will tell you herself, she didn&#39;t think she&#39;d live to see 25, as most of her youth was wrapped up in life on the streets.</p><p>That&#39;s where she begins the story of her 25th year.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 14 Feb 2013 15:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-ameena-matthews-105541 Cops: Honor student killed by Chicago gang members http://www.wbez.org/news/cops-honor-student-killed-chicago-gang-members-105472 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F78971702" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Updated: 1:30 p.m.</em></p><p>A judge has ordered two gang members held without bail in the death of a 15-year-old Chicago honor student.</p><p>Cook County Judge Israel Desierto on Tuesday ordered 18-year-old Michael Ward and 20-year-old Kenneth Williams held.</p><p>Prosecutors say they have cellphone records placing Williams in the same area where Hadiya Pendleton was shot. They say Ward told police his gang and a rival gang had been shooting at each other since 2010. Ward said the rival gang killed one of his friends and he was still upset.</p><p>Pendleton died after being shot in a park about a mile from the Chicago home of President Barack Obama on Jan. 29, just days after she performed during his inauguration festivities in Washington. Her death was among dozens of homicides in Chicago last month, though her background and ties to Obama thrust her death into the national headlines.</p><p>Ward and Williams were charged Monday with first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Monday night. Both were taken into custody late Saturday while on their way to a strip club &mdash; and just hours after first lady Michelle Obama and other dignitaries attended Pendleton&#39;s funeral.</p><p>&quot;Ward confessed and indicated Hadiya was not the intended target. They got it all wrong,&quot; McCarthy said.</p><p>Pendleton, a popular high school majorette, was with a group of friends who took cover during a rainstorm under a canopy in a park about a mile from the Obama home on the city&#39;s South Side. Police said a man hopped a fence, ran toward them and opened fire with a handgun before fleeing in a waiting car. Pendleton was struck in the back and died later that day. Two others were injured.</p><p>McCarthy said Ward told investigators he thought he was shooting into the crowd of a rival gang, and that the shooting was meant as retaliation for Williams being shot in the arm in July. Police said neither Pendleton nor her friends were affiliated with gangs.</p><p>Williams, who refused to cooperate with authorities after the July shooting, was driving the getaway car, McCarthy said. He added that both men were arrested while on their way to a strip club to celebrate a friend&#39;s birthday Saturday night.</p><p>Pendleton&#39;s death was one of more than 40 homicides in Chicago in January, a total that made it the deadliest January in the city in more than a decade. But her murder attracted national attention and helped put Chicago at the center of a national debate over gun control.</p><p>Not only did the first lady attend the teen&#39;s funeral, but the girl&#39;s parents were set to sit with Michelle Obama during the president&#39;s State of the Union address on Tuesday night. Obama is scheduled to return to Chicago three days later to discuss gun violence.</p><p>Homicides in Chicago topped 500 last year for the first time since 2008, stoking residents&#39; concerns about gun violence and leading the police department to put more officers on the street and to focus more on combatting gangs.</p><p>McCarthy, who is pushing for tougher gun laws that would increase minimum sentences for gun crimes, noted that Ward was arrested in January 2011 on a gun charge but he received probation after pleading guilty to unlawful use of a weapon. If Chicago had laws like those in New York City, McCarthy said, Ward wouldn&#39;t have been on the streets.</p><p>&quot;This has to stop. Gun offenders have to do significant jail time,&quot; said McCarthy, who rose through the ranks of New York City&#39;s police and is the former police director in Newark, N.J.</p><p>McCarthy said the arrests occurred after police figured out that the description of the car in which the shooter fled matched the description of a vehicle in which Williams had been pulled over a day before the shootings. The police superintendent noted it didn&#39;t come from a tip from the community.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m sad to point out we did not get our target audience to step up,&quot; he said.</p><p>Just as the December killing of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., brought renewed scrutiny of the nation&#39;s gun laws, the death of the popular Chicago teen has cast the city&#39;s gun violence in a new light.</p><p>Earlier Monday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel seemed to make just that point.</p><p>&quot;The only time when the gun issue ever gets affected is when Newtown happens,&quot; he said. &quot;What happens in urban areas around the country too often ... gets put to the side.&quot;</p><p>He said that while it&#39;s not wrong that massacres stir such debate, what happens on the streets of Chicago and in other urban areas &quot;gets put in a different value system.&quot;</p><p>&quot;These are our kids,&quot; he said, his voice rising. &quot;These are our children.&quot;</p><p>Emanuel joined McCarthy and Cook County State&#39;s Attorney Anita Alvarez at an afternoon news conference to announce they would push for tougher gun laws that would increase the minimum sentences and require offenders to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences.</p><p>They say the law now allows offenders to be released after serving no more than half their sentences and sometimes obtain their release after a matter of weeks.</p></p> Mon, 11 Feb 2013 20:18:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/cops-honor-student-killed-chicago-gang-members-105472