$500,000 bail for man charged with firing rifle on Metra platform

Shawn Kimbrough in 2019 (inset) and a video grab of the shooter. | CPD; FBI

A Chicago man was ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bail Tuesday for allegedly firing a rifle on the Metra train platform at McCormick Place this month.

Last year, the man was accused of brandishing a handgun in a River North nightlife district, but prosecutors later allowed him to plead guilty to a reduced charge.

Shawn Kimbrough, 40, turned himself in to police this week after friends recognized him in video footage of the incident that was released by the FBI on December 9.

Around 10 a.m. on December 1, Kimbrough boarded a Metra train at 12th Street, but he didn’t have money to pay for a ticket, prosecutors said Tuesday. A conductor told him he would need to get off at the next available stop.

As the conductor and Kimbrough waited for the train doors to open at McCormick Place, Kimbrough allegedly told the Metra worker that he had a gun in his backpack, prosecutors said. The conductor, who thought Kimbrough had been drinking, didn’t believe him and did not notify authorities about the claim.

Kimbrough exited at McCormick Place and was the only person on the platform when he allegedly bent over and removed a Kel-Tec SU-16 collapsible rifle from his backpack.

Metra surveillance video shows a man raising a rifle to his shoulder and firing one round toward a concrete wall. A group of maintenance workers was further down the rails, prosecutors said, and a Metra janitor heard the gunfire but didn’t see who fired the shot. No injuries were reported.

The janitor later found a spent shell casing on the platform while cleaning the area and notified police.

Prosecutors said the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force initially investigated the incident, but no credible link to terrorism was found. The agency then released Metra’s video to media outlets.

An anonymous tipster who saw the video told investigators that the gunman is Kimbrough, prosecutors said. Metra police went to Kimbrough’s home where they seized a gun safe, and Kimbrough’s wife identified him in surveillance images, according to prosecutors.

Kimbrough, who was in North Carolina when authorities released the video, contacted the FBI and said he “does stupid stuff” when he drinks, prosecutors alleged. Kimbrough’s father drove him back to Chicago, and Kimbrough surrendered to authorities Monday.

After turning himself in, he handed over a key to the gun safe, and police allegedly recovered a Kel-Tec SU-16 from inside.

Prosecutors charged Kimbrough with felony counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, discharge of a firearm, and possession of a firearm with a revoked Firearm Owner’s ID (FOID) card.

“This statement that he does stupid stuff when he drinks is an understatement,” Judge Mary Marubio said after hearing the state’s allegations.

Marubio then ordered Kimbrough held on the $500,000 bail. He’ll need to post $50,000 to get out of jail.

On August 8, 2019, police arrested Kimbrough after he allegedly displayed a handgun on the corner of State and Hubbard streets in River North.

In that case, he walked up to a tourist, pointed toward the Marina City towers, and asked the tourist what they thought it would take to neutralize a sniper, prosecutors said.

The tourist joked, “at least a bow and arrow.”

Kimbrough allegedly then brandished a handgun and asked if the tourist thought the weapon “would do the trick.” The tourist walked away and called police.

Officers stopped Kimbrough nearby and found a 9-millimeter handgun in his waistband, according to a CPD report.

Prosecutors initially charged Kimbrough with felony unlawful use of a weapon in the River North case. They later allowed him to plead guilty to a reduced misdemeanor violation and the state revoked his FOID card.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com