30 months in federal prison for man who had loaded gun on the Red Line

CHICAGO — One of two men charged by federal prosecutors after Chicago police allegedly found them with guns on a Red Line train in the Loop has been sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Kevon Reed, 23, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in exchange for the sentence from U.S. District Judge Nancy Maldonado, according to court records.

“For some reason, [the] defendant fails to internalize the message that he cannot possess a gun,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum that recommended a 34-month sentence.

Reed and Willie Ware, 24, were arrested at the State-Lake station early on November 5, 2021.

CTA workers called the police after seeing three men walking back and forth on a train car. The men were wearing ski masks, and one had a gun.

When Ware saw cops approaching, he jumped up, pulled a gun from his hoodie, and threw it onto Reed’s lap, prosecutors said. The weapon allegedly had a 50-round ammunition magazine attached and a switch that could convert the weapon to fire automatically, like a machine gun.

Reed ran away, but police found him on a bench at another train station with a satchel strapped to his chest, prosecutors said. He freely admitted that a gun was in the bag, according to the police.

State prosecutors charged both men with gun-related felonies. Federal prosecutors took on the case weeks later.

Reed received a three-year sentence for unlawful restraint in 2019, a charge that prosecutors reduced from attempted murder. In that case, he and two other men allegedly robbed a weed dealer, and one of his accomplices shot the victim. He was discharged from parole five months before cops caught him with a gun on the CTA.

Willie Ware (left), Kevon Reed, and the weapons police allegedly found them carrying on the CTA. | Chicago Police Department

Prosecutors acknowledged that Reed has a troubled background, including a “lack of stable parenting, the trauma resulting from his witnessing domestic abuse and losing friends and family to violent crimes, his history of drug abuse and mental-health struggles, and his failure to complete high school.”

Ware is scheduled to be sentenced on December 12. (Update December 13, 2023: Willie Ware received a sentence of 38 months.)

Prosecutors recommended a 44-month sentence in a memorandum to the judge, calling Ware “an offender who—since youth—has an uninterrupted history of engaging in crimes with guns.”

The pending case is his sixth involving firearms, prosecutors said, noting his “continuous contacts with the criminal-justice system since the age of thirteen.”

Officials said his history includes four juvenile adjudications: three gun possession charges and robbery.

About Tim Hecke 326 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com