CHICAGO (CBS) — The man linked to the deaths of two Chicago police officers struck and killed by a train last week was scheduled to return to court on Thursday.
Edward Brown, 24, is charged with reckless discharge of a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon.
Prosecutors have said he was walking home from the 95th Street CTA station on Dec. 17, when he found a fanny pack with a handgun, two magazines, a FOID card, and a bundle of ammunition. He allegedly took the gun home, and later decided to go to the Metra tracks near 103rd and Dauphin to test it, by firing two shots.
The gunshots were detected by police ShotSpotter sensors, and officers Conrad Gary and Eduardo Marmolejo responded. When they spotted Brown walking down an embankment from the train tracks, he allegedly ran back up and headed down the tracks.
As the officers followed, they spotted an oncoming Metra Electric train ahead of them, but didn’t see a South Shore Line coming up behind them at a speed of at least 60 mph. The South Shore Line train struck both officers, killing them instantly.
Although Brown faces two felony gun charges, CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller said he is unlikely to face murder charges in the officers’ deaths.
“A prosecutor, ethically, is supposed to charge an offense based upon the evidence,” Miller said. “Clearly, legally, this is not a felony murder and would have been prosecutorial misconduct to charge a murder in this case.”
Miller says that although seeing Brown charged with class-four felonies might be tough for the families of the officers, he says hearing a not guilty after a lengthy trial would be even tougher.
Brown’s attorney, Frank Kostouros, believes prosecutors will soon present the case to a grand jury. He said Brown knows picking up the gun was the biggest mistake of his life.
“He’s absolutely devastated by what happened to these officers. It’s his very first arrest. I mean, he’s such a good kid. He’s a civilian. He doesn’t have any contacts with the law. I mean, he went away to college. He was working downtown. He’s not a typical kid that gets caught with a gun,” he said.
Kostouros said Brown should have turned the gun into police, but he should not be held responsible for the officers’ tragic deaths.
“What happened to these officers obviously is completely tragic,” Kostouros said. “But, let’s not punish a kid for murder when he did not commit murder.”
Brown’s bond has been set at $200,000. Despite a GoFundMe campaign, his family has not been able to raise the $20,000 needed to bail him out. Kostouros said he’ll ask a judge to lower Brown’s bond.
If convicted of the gun charges, Brown faces up to three years in prison.