Charges filed in CTA hammer attack as cops investigate “at least” 11 more cases

An Edgewater man with a history of robberies and attacks aboard the CTA is charged with striking a Red Line passenger with a hammer Tuesday morning downtown. Prosecutors said Curtis Tyler, 30, is under investigation for “at least eleven” similar attacks on the city’s trains, buses, and L platforms since July 13.

So far, Tyler is only charged with Tuesday’s attack.

Assistant State’s Attorney Darryl Auguste said the victim, a 50-year-old man, was seated near the exit of a Red Line car when Tyler walked next to him as if he was preparing to leave the train at Clark-Division around 5:38 a.m. Tyler was “mumbling,” Auguste said, but the alleged victim did not engage with him.

Curtis Tyler (left) and CTA surveillance images of the suspect in previous attacks. | CPD

Tyler suddenly struck the man in the forehead with a hammer and fled from the train, Auguste said. CTA surveillance video showed Tyler was masturbating as he carried out the attack, according to Auguste.

The victim was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where doctors used four staples to close the wound to his head, Auguste said.

Chicago police officers found Tyler at the Belmont Red Line station a short time later and realized he looked like the hammer attack suspect. Tyler allegedly told the officers he “just got into it with someone on the train.”

Cops found a hammer, a folding knife, and someone else’s Ventra card in Tyler’s possession Auguste said.

The victim could not identify Tyler in a photo line-up, but Tyler identified himself in CTA surveillance images of the attacker, according to Auguste.

Police escort a suspect in a series of hammer attacks aboard the CTA into the 19th District station in Lakeview (left) after he was allegedly found with a hammer (right) at the Belmont Red Line station. | CPD

Detectives continue to investigate a series of similar attacks and robberies on the CTA system and in Lakeview. More charges may be forthcoming, according to statements made during Tyler bond court appearance Wednesday.

Tyler is charged with felony aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, misdemeanor theft of lost or mislaid property, and public indecency in connection with Tuesday’s incident.

Judge Mary Marubio set bail at $350,000. Tyler must post $35,000 to get out of jail on electronic monitoring.

Auguste said Tyler received a nine-year prison sentence for choking and robbing a victim at a CTA bus stop in 2012. Tyler walked up to the victim, asked him for a cigarette, and then grabbed him by his throat and choked him when he refused, Auguste said.

“Give me your sh*t,” Tyler allegedly ordered as he took the victim’s wallet.

Tyler was also convicted of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm for attacking another victim at a CTA station in 2014, Auguste said. He has ten misdemeanor convictions and a juvenile conviction for robbery in 2007.

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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