Chicago police detectives know the identities of two men who witnesses said killed a man by pushing him into the path of a Red Line train at the Jackson station Tuesday evening, according to sources with knowledge of the case. Both of the men are in their late teens and both are known to police officers in the downtown area. More on them in a minute.
The victim, identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner as 29-year-old Mamadou Balde of Rogers Park, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Witnesses told police that two men who were in the company of a woman pushed Balde into the path of a southbound train around 5:13 p.m. A CTA worker, citing preliminary information, said Balde may have been dragged after falling between two of the train’s cars.
A CTA commuter told CWBChicago yesterday evening that a “pretty big group” of teenagers and young adults were causing trouble on the Jackson Red Line platform while he waited for a train shortly before Balde’s death.
“It kept escalating, yelling, pushing, and stuff,” he said.
At some point, Balde was pushed from the platform and into the train’s path, but the commuter did not see the attack unfold.
Witnesses who did see it told police that two men — a white male with shorter hair who wore a dark gray or black hoodie, black jeans, and black shoes and a black male who wore a greenish t-shirt, black jeans, Timberland boots, and a black do-rag — were the perpetrators. Surveillance cameras captured images of the men as they left the station, then walked south on State Street and west on Jackson Boulevard with a white woman who was wearing a Champion-brand t-shirt.
The police department distributed images of the suspects to districts across the city and cops who patrol the area near Water Tower Place quickly identified the men by name, CWBChicago has learned.
Images of the suspects will be included in photo line-ups that detectives hope to present to witnesses today.
Both participated in a mob theft from a downtown retailer late last year and one has been arrested multiple times near the Chicago-State Red Line station, where police have been fighting a persistent crime problem.
Social media posts show one of the men throwing up gang signs and displaying large amounts of cash outside the beleaguered McDonald’s restaurant at 10 East Chicago.
The other, a former Lakeview High School student, recorded videos of fistfights between girls in a downtown alley.
Both men openly claim to have gang affiliations. CWBChicago is not naming the men because they have not been charged in connection with Balde’s murder.