Red Line killer charged after high school staff recognizes him as a former student, prosecutors say

Prosecutors said Charles Carter pulled a gun out of his jacket and killed another passenger on the Red Line in August 2022. | Chicago Police Department

Chicago — A 16-year-old has been charged with murdering another passenger on the Red Line this summer after police released surveillance images of the killer and three people identified him as a former Chicago Public Schools student.

Charles Carter was ordered held without bail by Judge Mary Marubio during a court hearing on Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecutors said Carter and a friend saw the 29-year-old victim sleeping on the train shortly after 2 a.m. on August 6 and watched as another passenger took the man’s wallet and left the train.

Carter’s friend then approached the sleeping man, took his phone, and returned to his seat near Carter. Prosecutors said the pair agreed to split any proceeds from the sale of the phone. However, the victim awoke to find that his belongings had gone missing.

The man started pacing the train car and put in his AirPods, apparently to see if they would connect with his phone, prosecutors said. As he talked with Carter about the phone, Carter allegedly put his hand inside his jacket and kept it there.

CTA video showed the victim holding a small pocket knife in his hand, but he never lunged toward Carter or Carter’s friend, and he was never aggressive, prosecutors said.

After about 25 seconds, Carter pulled his hand, holding a gun, out of his jacket, and shot the man three times, according to the allegations. The man suffered gunshot wounds to his torso, arm, and leg. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at a nearby hospital.

Carter and his friend got off the train at 79th Street, and a White Sox hat Carter was wearing at the time of the shooting fell on the platform. The hat is undergoing forensic testing.

Chicago police released surveillance video of two suspects linked to the shooting on August 9. Two CPS high school staff members contacted the police because they recognized Carter. A Chicago police officer who worked security at the school also recognized Carter from the footage, prosecutors said.

Authorities recently arrested Carter in Georgia and extradited him to Chicago this week.

Assistant Public Defender Richard Paull said Carter stopped attending high school in 2020 and was in Georgia to visit his father and a cousin. The lawyer argued that the man who was killed had a knife in his hand and that Carter may have acted in self-defense.

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