Loyola student robbed Metra conductor at gunpoint to get lunch money, defense attorney says

A Loyola University student on his way to school robbed a Metra conductor at gunpoint Tuesday afternoon because he was hungry and needed money to get some food before class — and that’s according to his defense attorney.

Zion Brown, 18, was arrested later that night after his mother recognized him in news coverage of the robbery and drove him to the Calumet City police department to surrender, prosecutors said.

A Metra surveillance image shows the conductor standing with his hands raised as the robber tucks a gun into his waistband. | Metra

According to the allegations, the Metra Electric Line train had just arrived at the Van Buren Street Station in Grant Park when Brown pulled out a gun and pointed it at the train conductor’s stomach around 2:07 p.m. He allegedly took $110 from the conductor’s pockets on the platform and left the station.

Brown later told police that he saw the conductor handling cash on the train and decided to rob him of the money, prosecutors said. His private defense attorney said Brown was hungry and was looking for something to eat.

Zion Brown | CCSO

During a police interview, Brown, who has no criminal background, allegedly said the weapon he displayed was a BB gun that he tossed into a dumpster after the robbery.

The defense attorney said Brown went to class at Loyola after the hold-up. He encouraged Judge Maryam Ahmad to reflect on her days as a hungry college student as she weighed the state’s request to have Brown held without bail.

That argument didn’t sit well with Ahmad, who said she remembered being a hungry college student, but she never considered pulling a gun on someone and taking their money. She granted the state’s no-bail request.

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