Man with a history of CTA crimes gets 4 years for Red Line hammer attack

A man with a history of violent attacks on the CTA has pleaded guilty to attacking a man with a hammer on the Red Line near Clark-Division one year ago. He was suspected of committing several similar attacks but was never charged.

Curtis Tyler, 30, was sentenced to four years in prison by Judge William Raines after pleading guilty to aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Curtis Tyler is led into the Town Hall (19th) District station after he was allegedly found carrying this hammer at the Belmont Red Line station. | CPD

Tyler’s sentence will be reduced by 50% for good behavior, and he will receive 290 days of credit for time spent in jail. He is scheduled to be released from prison in August 2023.

Tyler pleaded guilty to using a hammer to attack a 50-year-old man as they prepared to exit a Red Line train at Clark-Division around 5:30 a.m. on August 24, 2021.

Prosecutors said he mumbled as he stood next to the victim on the train, then suddenly struck the victim in the forehead with a hammer and ran from the station. Prosecutors alleged that Tyler was masturbating as he carried out the attack.

The victim was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where doctors closed the wound on his head with four staples.

Chicago police officers found Tyler at the Belmont CTA station in Lakeview 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.”

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

Police were continuing to investigate Tyler in connection with “at least eleven” similar attacks on the city’s trains, buses, and L platforms, an assistant state’s attorney said during Tyler’s bail hearing last year. But he was never charged with any other incidents.

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

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

Tyler was also found guilty of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm in 2014 after attacking another victim at a CTA station. He has ten misdemeanor convictions and a juvenile robbery conviction from 2007.

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