CHICAGO (CBS) — As the search for her killer intensified, family and friends of Sally Katona-King gathered Friday to remember a woman dedicated to others.
Katona-King, 68, was shoved to her death by a thief who had just stolen another passenger’s iPhone at the Fullerton CTA L stop earlier this week. Her Wake was held Friday on the North Side.
All afternoon and into the evening, people who knew and loved her comforted one another. They recalled how the woman turned to good works and helping others after her husband was murdered during a 1971 armed robbery. She helped the homeless in the Logan Square neighborhood, near the church where she was a deacon and a renowned cook.
“I used to say her, ‘You’re like wine. You get better as you get older, mom,’” her daughter, Kimberly Katona told CBS 2’s Mike Parker.
There were tears of frustration, too, about the tragic way she was killed — pushed down a flight of stairs at the Fullerton L stop.
There was no CTA security camera on the platform that might have captured him in the act. That rankles Katona-King’s nephew, Chris Lawrence, even though the CTA says it needs federal funding before it can install more cameras.
“That’s ridiculous,” Lawrence said. “The safety of passengers is more important.”
Her daughter Kimberly said she’s heartened that police now have a sketch of the suspect.
“Well, it helps. I don’t want this person hurting anyone else. I hope they find him just so that he can be pulled off the street,” Kimberly Katona said.
Katona-King’s brother, Michael Lawrence, said, “It shouldn’t have ended like this. There’s no reason for that. I just do hope they catch this guy.”
Chicago police were hoping that the sketch of the suspect would prompt someone who knows who the man is to turn him in.
Greg Jacobs, now of Mundelein, said he thinks he saw the suspect in a cell phone store at the Westfield Hawthorn Shopping Mall in Vernon Hills.
Upon seeing the sketch on Thursday, Jacobs said, “That’s him.”
The suspect is described as an African-American male, 17 to 25 years old, 5’11” to 6’4″ tall, weighing 170 to 220 pounds. He was wearing a black hat, black jacket with the letters “WS” on the back and blue jeans.
Jacobs said recognized the man right down to the jacket with “WS” on the back. He says the man and the other two with him appeared to break into a locked compartment for high-priced phones, then fled when Jacobs approached them.
“I’m 95 percent certain that’s him,” Jacobs said.
The cell phone store has a working surveillance camera, and Chicago Police are indicating serious interest in viewing it.
At her Wake Friday, one friend of the victim, Bill Lambe, said Katona-King would be the first person to forgive the man who pushed her. Another old friend, John Collier, won’t go that far.
“I want him caught first, then we’ll see about forgiveness,” Collier said.