Over the course of one week this month, a 16-year-old girl was either involved in or on the scene of a robbery, a shooting, and a murder on the Red Line train system, according to prosecutors and a police department source.
The girl serves as a common thread connecting a series of crimes on the beleaguered CTA train system, which is seeing significant numbers of violent incidents even as ridership has plunged during the state’s COVID-19 stay home order.
Her story demonstrates the level of mayhem that an individual or small group can create on the city’s transit system.
But the teen’s tale is hardly unique. Earlier this year, a 19-year-old woman was charged with committing multiple violent crimes on the Red Line, including two that were allegedly carried out less than a week after she was shot inside a CTA pedestrian tunnel downtown. More on that woman in a moment.
16 going on 50
Most recently, police arrested the 16-year-old girl after she allegedly fought with a CTA security guard on the Red Line train near Belmont on Apr. 9. The guard, who was illegally carrying a gun in his jacket pocket while on patrol, has also been charged in the case.
Shortly after she was arrested, investigators recognized the girl as one of three people who attacked and tried to rob a 59-year-old man at the Roosevelt Red Line station around 7 a.m. on Apr. 2.
She and two men allegedly pushed the victim onto the Red Line tracks as they tried to take his bag, according to a CPD report. The victim was treated at Mercy Hospital for facial bleeding and an injured hand.
All three offenders ran from the scene. Still not charged in the crime are two men. The victim said one is white, in his 20’s, and about 5’9” tall. He wore a white hoodie with a design on its front. The other is black, about six-feet tall, and he wore a black hoodie.
Five days later, on Apr. 7, the girl was on the scene when two men battered a former Marine on the Jackson Red Line platform and then pushed the man between two cars of a departing train, according to a CPD source. The train dragged 29-year-old Mamadou Balde to his death.
Police used CTA surveillance video to identify the attackers and trace their movements — along with the girl’s — after the killing.
Authorities cannot release further information about the girl because she is a juvenile.
Hard to stop
CWBChicago has learned of another incredible example of the resiliency some alleged Red Line troublemakers can exhibit.
Around 2 a.m. on Feb. 17, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of people in a CTA pedestrian tunnel that connects the Red and Blue Line train systems at Jackson. One man was killed. Another was gravely wounded. And a 19-year-old woman was shot in the leg, according to police.
Four days later — while still recovering from the gunshot wound — the woman allegedly pepper-sprayed a CTA passenger, stole her phone, and punched the victim in the face at the Lake Street Red Line station.
Two days after that, she allegedly pepper-sprayed, stabbed, and tried to rob a woman on an escalator at the Clark-Division Red Line station, according to prosecutors.
Police eventually caught up with her on Feb. 24 following a disturbance at the Chicago-State Red Line station. At the time, she was free on a recognizance bond for allegedly robbing a Jewel-Osco in Wicker Park and another recognizance bond for shoplifting in Lincoln Park.
She is currently being held without bail
CWBChicago is not naming the alleged offender in this story because she is a victim in the Red Line shooting.