CTA blotter: Deacon dies after push at Fullerton station; purse snatchings on #55 Garfield bus

It’s already been a bad week for crime on the CTA.

  • Sally Katona-King.jpg

    Sally Katona-King, murdered at Fullerton station

    A 68-year-old woman died Tuesday after being pushed down the steps at the Fullerton L station by a doofus thug trying to escape with the iPhone he had just snatched.

  • A CTA bus driver and four passengers were among 11 people hurt in an incident on the South Side. As a couple of guys fired automatic weapons at a black car, the car veered down the street near 75th and Vincennes, striking a #75 bus and injuring car passengers and bystanders.
  • A rash of purse snatching on the #55 Garfield prompted bus patrols by the Guardian Angels.

Has this town gone crazy?

That woman murdered – yes, murdered – at Fullerton was someone’s mom, grandma and aunt. She was a church deacon. She worked with the homeless. But to her killer, she was just in the way. I’m glad there is not capital punishment in Illinois, because he needs to think about what he did to this woman and her family every day for the rest of his life.

Bus crash shooting.jpg

Photo by E. Jason Wambsgans, Chicago Tribune / March 29, 2011

As for the shooters, can someone explain why you would need an automatic pistol to hunt animals? I’m OK with the right to bear arms to protect yourself and to hunt. But I don’t think you need an automatic weapon to do either.

And how ballsy does a criminal have to be to grab a purse from an unsuspecting woman and run off a bus. They’re all cowards.

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  • I don't like your headline or your characterization of the killer.

    1. It should read "Woman killed". No one cares what her part time job was, it had nothing to do with her death. She was just going to work.
    2. Calling the iPhone thief who pushed her down the stairs, which caused her death a "doofus" is is just sick.
    He wasn't a "doofus", he's a violent criminal. Criminals aren't doofuses, unless they're characters in a Donald Westlake novel or make News Of The Weird for their complete incompetence! This pile of shit wasn't incompetent, he did manage to steal the phone & has so far gotten away with both crimes.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Scooter, why does it not surprise me that you even diss me for this post?

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    You're actually defending yourself for calling a violent criminal a doofus?
    The generally held definition of doofus is a clumsy & slow witted person.
    This criminal was neither!
    He stole the phone & the pushed this woman out of his way to get away, he had no interest in her safety or life.
    You obviously don't know the correct definition of doofus!

    As for the deacon reference, you probably got that from the Sun-Times article on this which used that in their headline. But the ST deliberately used that word in a craven attempt to get a few more black people to buy their failing paper.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    OK, you win on "doofus" Scooter. See comment below. But on your "deacon" comment, do try to hide your racism a little better, ok? Race really has nothing to do with this.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    I'm not the racist, the Sun-Times is for using that term to describe her. All other news outlets just called her a "woman" who also worked for a religious group. Not one TV station yesterday referred to her as a "deacon" a term which is rarely used to refer to someone outside of a religious situation. And I saw it on three different stations.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    When I think of "deacon," I think of an older white man helping out at a Catholic parish. But that's just me.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I am so glad I live W A Y out in the suburbs - and I now understand why the people out here say "I never go into the city".

  • In reply to mikep621:

    Arrant nonsense! Or Bullshit!, if you prefer.

    There's plenty of crime in the suburbs. Armed robberies and home invasions in "Leave it to Beaver" suburbs amidst the endless strip malls and McMansions. Random, "stranger danger" violent crime that leaves its victims just as wounded, mentally scarred, or dead as similar crimes in the city.

    Tell the women shot in that suburban Lane Bryant store that they were safe because they weren't in the dangerous, dangerous city. Oops, you can only tell one of them, because the others are dead.

    Similarly, all the people in the Brown's Chicken in Palatine so many years ago were safe as babies in their mother's arms because they were in the suburbs, not the evil, evil city.

    Tell those people shot in front of exurban homes by the crazy guy driving around babbling about bees that they were safe because they weren't in the city.

    Nobody's ever killed or severely injured anyone in the suburbs in a road "accident" while fleeing by car from the commission of a crime. Nope, never happened.

    Keep on being smug in your gated suburban community. Oh, after you explain why the heck your "handle" is a CTA project when you've made clear more than once -- as I recall, this isn't your first gloaty fear-the-city/safe-in-the suburbs post -- that you'll never actually ride it because it would be in the city.

  • In reply to jbredin:

    My handle is CTA Gray Line Project because I am the sole Author of the "CTA Gray Line 'L' Route" Major Capital Project in the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's Go To 2040 Regional Transportation Plan:




    And you are of course correct that crime happens in the suburbs; but it hasn't happened to ME personally in the three years that I've lived out here - compared to the two-or-three-times-a-week during the 58 years I lived on the South Side of Chicago.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    Wait a minute! You mean you were a crime victim 2-3 times a week for the 58 years you lived on the South Side? I think you exaggerate slightly....

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    A little bit - BUT NOT MUCH

  • In reply to jbredin:

    John, please attend the first Public Meeting of the CDOT South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study on April 13th at the Bronzeville IIT Campus (ALL are invited).

    I will be putting on a Gray Line presentation, and you can explain all my inadequacies to me face-to-face (you too jack).


  • In reply to mikep621:

    I used to respect you, but not after that screed upthread. So I can't take you or your organization seriously anymore.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    I can understand what you mean Cheryl, but my own Black people in my own Black Community (Chatham - on Chicago's South Side) have done me WAY WORSE than ANY Ku Klux Klansman ever thought of; and I believe in giving credit where credit is due.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Thug, doofus, scumbag. I don't care what anyone calls him, I just hope they catch him and he serves some serious time.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    Yes, "thug" is more like it. I've seen posts elsewhere suggesting that all he was doing was trying to escape. But what he actually did was deliberately hurt other people so he could get away with a crime, Far from excusing his actions, it compounds his guilt. This was not accidental and we should have no sympathy for him.

    I think it was not irrelevant to refer to her as a Deacon. It goes to one of the main angles of this story, which is that she was the kind of woman whose life was devoted to helping others.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    I should've realized from other threads that you're *the* Gray Line Project man himself. Oops. And the "gated suburban community" was probably one wise-crack too far.

    That said, "I'm glad I'm out in the suburbs" does sound smug and overly simplistic, at least as a bare statement without explanation as in your brief posting.

    I grew up in and now live in the (near Northwest)suburbs but spend a lot of time -- work and free time -- in the city. I chose to live in the suburbs, but not for fear of city crime. When I've heard someone say "I haven't been in the city in 20 years" or similar sentiments with a proud grin on his or her face -- something I hear a lot less nowadays compared to when I was growing up in the '80s and early '90s -- my immediate reaction is puzzlement or even a little embarrassment rather than understanding.

    I see that you faced different circumstances regarding crime in the city. However, in the milieu I grew up in, those kind of assertions had little to do with actual experiences and much more to do with prejudiced preconceptions.

    More to the point, "I am so glad I live W A Y out in the suburbs" is, in my experience as explained above, rarely the attitude of someone who supports public works projects that will be mostly or entirely in the city. Hence my surprise and failure to realize that you're fully (possibly uniquely) entitled to call yourself "CTA Gray Line Project".

  • In reply to jbredin:

    I moved to the suburbs because I got a job out here (after being unemployed and homeless for 5 months - sleeping on the 'L').

    It was only after I had been out here (Lisle - near Naperville) for over a year that I realized stuff that I left out in the back yard (bikes, BBQ grills, furniture) DID NOT "walk away" like EVERYTHING does on the South Side after about 35 minutes.

    I cannot forget my 82yo retired fixed-income Mother crying repeatedly because of her little car being repeatedly vandalized.

    If I had had an H-Bomb at the time - there would be NO Chicago right now; just a big crater from Milwaukee to Gary.

    That's right - 7 Million innocent people VAPORIZED because of the actions of a few.

    And yes - I am QUITE insane.

    Have a nice day :-)

  • In reply to mikep621:

    I'd honestly prefer people being machine-gunned down in public than the horrid banality of the suburbs. God, shot me now.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    "But the ST deliberately used that word in a craven attempt to get a few more black people to buy their failing paper."

    Really, Scooter? Is that why they printed a large picture of a smiling white woman?

    Come on, state your opinion, but don't make up facts or attribute imagined opinions to others. Even you should be smarter than that.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    The photo of her on the front page of the ST edition I saw is very small.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Sally Went to school to become a deacon (yes that is the TITLE) in the local Lutheran church she attended. Completely separate from that position, she was also employed at the offices of the bishop, as a receptionist. Her entire life was dedicated to her faith and to helping others, which is probably why it was mentioned in MANY headlines, not just one. It is ironic, considering her tragic death and very pertinent information in describing WHO Sally was. Yes, I knew her personally. Why are you so afraid of religion?

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    OK, so both Scooter and someone else on Facebook called me out for referring to the murderer as a "doofus." So I'm now calling him a "thug." Thank you for your collective edits. Where were you when I needed you last night while writing this?

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    You've also managed to misspell her last name in the photo caption!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Fixed. Thanks for letting me know. Yes Scooter, today you have proved I am not perfect.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I find it just downright criminal that there seems to be no video footage from the CTA cause they didn't have cameras there according to the news I watched...now this is on the refurbished Fullerton station. So I have to ask, was your safety and security something that they "forgot" like the lack of roofs in the original design. There should be lots of video footage of this thief if he was on the platform and stairwells. It's a major fail on CTAs part.


  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    There certainly are cameras at the Fullerton station because I've seen them. The question is whether the existing cameras caught the place where the action was.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Since he had to enter and exit the station how could they not "catch" him enough to get a picture of this guy. They have a good description of him down to a jacket with WS on the back. One or more of the cameras should have caught him and a stairwell would be one of the major places to have cameras...

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Re: I'm glad there is not capital punishment in Illinois, because he needs to think about what he did to this woman and her family every day for the rest of his life."

    I'd be surprised if the guy (if caught and convicted) gets 5 years for this, let alone life.

  • CTATattler: I realize you're not reporting on the cops, but any idea why the cops are passing fliers out at the station rather than *tracing the phone via its EIN*??? The cops in this town make me sick. They blow stop signs and lights left and right and then fine you $120 if you do the same.

  • In reply to MareSwallow:

    We don't know this is a case of them handing out flyers *rather* than tracing the phone. Maybe they're doing both. Or maybe the owner of the phone never set it up for tracing.

  • In reply to MareSwallow:

    EB - What makes you think that the cops aren't tracking the cell phone? Or that they haven't already recovered the phone and are looking to track who handled it. You know, they don't give out all the details of the investigation for a reason.

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