An Indiana man who allegedly tried to push a woman into the path of a CTA train downtown this spring was released from custody without being charged, then went on an arson spree before police finally caught up with him during a shoplifting incident last week. Then, he got released again. Police caught up with him two days later to finally face attempted murder and arson charges.
Prosecutors have now charged Kevin Sukraw, age 27, with attempted murder, two counts of arson, possessing an explosive or incendiary device, and criminal damage to government property.
But answers to questions about why he was repeatedly released without being charged for the attempted murder have been elusive.
Around 9:20 a.m. on May 11, Sukraw followed a woman off of an Orange Line train at Roosevelt and then tried to push her from the platform, according to court records. The victim “fell, landing within inches of the edge of the platform,” a prosecutor said during Sukraw’s bond court appearance Sunday. The woman was not seriously injured.
A witness wrapped his arms around Sukraw and detained him until police arrived, prosecutors said. Sukraw, who allegedly told police he pushed the woman because he was angry, underwent a mental health evaluation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and was then released.
Then, around 11 p.m. on June 21, an arsonist lit a series of dumpster fires in the Chinatown neighborhood. Investigators collected surveillance videos from the area and distributed images of the offender to local patrol officers. A cop who had previous contact with Sukraw recognized him as the arsonist, prosecutors said.
Police eventually caught up with Sukraw on August 12 after he allegedly shoplifted and battered someone in River North. Prosecutors said Sukraw’s name “popped” on the attempted murder and arson allegations while he was in custody.
Nonetheless, Sukraw was not charged in those cases and he was released from custody on a recognizance bond without even appearing in court, according to CPD records.
Two days later, police saw Sukraw in Chinatown and placed him into custody, records show. Prosecutors then filed the attempted murder, arson, and related charges.
Judge David Navarro set bail at $250,000. Sukraw will need to post a $25,000 bond to get out of jail before trial.
Asked to explain why the Sukraw was repeatedly released from custody after the alleged murder attempt, a CPD spokesperson told a reporter to contact the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (CCSAO) “to find the reason for release.”
In a statement, CCSAO said they weren’t aware of Sukraw until police contacted their felony review unit following his latest arrest.
“After reviewing all of the evidence, we approved felony charges for both the attempt murder which occurred in May and the multiple arson counts from June,” the spokesperson said. “Please contact CPD for information regarding his custody status prior to the August 14 arrest.”