CHICAGO (CBS) — A convicted felon was in jail Thursday, a day after a violent robbery and shooting that left a man in serious condition on the CTA Blue Line.
The arrest of Patrick Waldon, 31, was the result of a combination of help from the public and from security cameras.
Meanwhile, CBS 2’s Steven Graves on Thursday was looking into broader plans to make the Chicago Transit Authority system safer.
The brazen attack could have happened to any of us. Police said around 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, Waldon shot a passenger at the busy UIC-Halsted station.
Waldon was familiar to police due to his prior convictions for battery, armed robbery, and gun possession. He was on parole at the time of the incident, police said.
Police said Waldon’s latest crime involved staking out the platform and picking out someone to rob.
“He sits right next to this individual; this victim,” said Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan. “So obviously, he decided that this is the person he was going to target.”
A conversation started and the victim tried to run off the train. But he was shot in the back, and robbed of his backpack.
Police said multiple CTA cameras caught Waldon, and witnesses also helped nab him. He has a distinctive tattoo on his neck that, with the help of witnesses, helped identify him.
Interim police Supt. Charlie Beck said the network of about 30,000 cameras is crucial.
“We will use those cameras and we will ensure that people who target victims are prosecuted to the fullest extent, Beck said.
In this case, police immediately put out pictures of the suspect. It comes after a February 2019 CBS 2 investigation revealed that wasn’t what always happened.
Each case is different, police told us a year ago. But with a successful outcome here, concerns still mount for passengers and CTA workers.
Data show incidents on the rise system-wide. There were 2,737 crimes reported in 2016, 3,495 in 2017, 4,388 in 2018, and 4,497 last year.
Beck said he is looking at police officer staffing practices. A meeting is also planned with CTA personnel on Friday.
We asked the CTA for an update on how many of the 30,000 cameras actually work, and how often they are maintained. We have yet to hear back.
The victim was taken to Stroger Hospital in “very serious condition,” according to Waller. He was interviewed police after undergoing surgery, and CBS 2 has learned he is recovering well.