CTA worker gets 6 years for shooting unruly customer at 95th Street Red Line station

CHICAGO — A Chicago Transit Authority customer service agent has been sentenced to six years for shooting an intoxicated customer at the 95th Street Red Line station last year.

Sylvester Adams, 54, pleaded guilty to attempted murder in exchange for the sentence from Judge James Linn on Tuesday, according to court records. Prosecutors dropped four felony charges in their plea deal with Adams, including additional counts of attempted murder, aggravated battery by discharging a firearm, and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Adams had worked for the transit agency for about four years when the incident unfolded around 2:13 a.m. on March 26, 2022. That’s when the victim, identified by NBC5 as Jeremy Begay, 38, and another man approached the 95th Street CTA attendant kiosk to ask Adams and his coworker for directions and the location of an ATM.

CTA customer service agent Sylvester Adams (inset) is charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting a man repeatedly at the 95th Street Red Line station. | CPD; @CPD1617Scanner on Twitter

Moments later, the victim and the other man got into a fight, and Adams’ coworker called the police. Officers put the other man onto the Red Line, but the victim reportedly said he was waiting for a ride and didn’t want to take the train.

After the officers left, Adams and his coworker were locked inside their enclosed kiosk as the victim, described as unarmed and “clearly intoxicated,” began threatening them from outside, prosecutors said.

More CTA customers arrived, and the man “became combative” with some of them, too, according to prosecutors. That’s when Adams allegedly stepped out of the locked kiosk with a hammer in his hand and approached the victim. The men exchanged words and the victim pushed Adams to the ground.

Adams tried to hit the man with the hammer while on the ground, and the victim kicked Adams in the face before turning and walking away, prosecutors said.

Video recorded by a CTA customer who arrived during the disturbance was first posted to Twitter by the 16th & 17th District Chicago Police Scanner account.

Adams is seen getting to his feet and walking to the top of a nearby staircase the victim had just descended. Prosecutors said he fired nine shots at the victim, who had quickened his pace down the stairs to get away from him.

Bullets struck the victim in his back, abdomen, and lower right leg. He survived.

After being shot, the victim made his way to the end of the platform and hid. CTA video shows the victim was “clearly” walking away when Adams fired, prosecutors said.

Adams allegedly returned to the kiosk after the shooting and told his coworker, “My life is over.” Prosecutors said he also admitted to shooting the victim while speaking to officers whose bodyworn cameras were activated.

Adams will receive credit for 409 days earned after being arrested. Court records show prosecutors amended the state’s complaint so Adams would not receive a sentencing enhancement for using a firearm.

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