One month after we first told you about a man who was randomly attacking people with a hammer in Lakeview and along the Boystown entertainment strip, the Chicago Police Department issued a warning about the suspect. At least four more attacks have happened since we first reported the story on July 16.
In a community alert issued Wednesday, police said the man “is known to utilize a hammer” to attack people. The alert is limited to attacks on the city’s transit system, but a source said the offender is the same man who was attacking people in Lakeview last month.
Most recently, the attacker struck a man in the head with a hammer on the Addison Red Line station platform at 2:07 a.m. Wednesday, August 18, the alert said.
Detectives linked the man to similar attacks on a CTA bus in the 3500 block of West Addison at 3:27 p.m. July 21, on the Ashland Green Line platform at 11:10 a.m. on August 6, and on the Monroe Red Line platform at midnight on August 13.
The alert encouraged anyone with information about the man to call CPD’s public transportation unit at 312-745-4443. Callers should refer to alert “HammerCTA.”
Police released surveillance images of the suspect wearing a black do-rag and red shoes on different dates. Not coincidentally, we reported on July 16 that police were looking for a man who wore a black do-rag and red shoes for a series of hammer attacks in Lakeview.
Shortly before 9 p.m. on July 14, the man chased after a CTA customer while wielding a hammer on the Belmont station’s northbound platform, 945 West Belmont. He threw the victim’s backpack and other property onto the tracks and fled with the man’s phone, according to information provided to CWBChicago last month by a source. Witnesses saw the man running down the station’s stairs with a hammer. Officers drove that victim to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center for treatment.
According to dispatch records, about four hours after that incident, 911 callers reported that a man was trying to attack people with a hammer along the 3400 block of North Halsted in Boystown.
The next evening, a passenger was battered while sitting on a CTA bus on the 3700 block of North Broadway. The offender ran toward Halsted Street, and the victim refused to cooperate with police, officers at the scene said. Officers who reviewed surveillance images of the attacker said he was the same person responsible for the Belmont station attack.
We reported last month that CPD’s strategic support center distributed a bulletin about the man to officers, but CPD did not share that information with the public. According to CPD’s internal bulletin, he was suspected of committing other crimes, including robberies, in the area, a source said.