At around 4:45 Tuesday afternoon, an Amtrak conductor was shot while standing on the platform at the Naperville Metra station on 4th Ave.
“Officers arrived on scene, they observed a male, white victim, 45 years of age out of Homewood who was the victim of a gunshot wound to the torso,” said Lou Cammiso, Public Information Officer with the Naperville Police Department. “Officers also located a suspect that was being held by other passengers, restrained by other passengers for police.”
That man, described as a white male from Wisconsin in his 70’s, was taken into custody, and a handgun was recovered.
The shooting occurred soon after the Chicago bound Amtrak train, which was about two hours late, pulled into the Naperville station.
According to Cammiso, “The conductor stepped out onto the platform and the suspect fired the weapon out of the window, from inside the train out the window and struck the victim.”
Though no motive has been established, passengers on the train said the man appeared to be agitated.
David Liebe Hart, observed him, saying, “I saw the old man talking to himself, he’s really crazy.” He added, “I heard a shot and then they, everybody said oh look the conductor got shot, and I said oh, no.”
Another passenger, Faith Pawlowski, commented, “I was just in my seat and the train stopped and the air conditioning went off and everything, I was wondering what was going on and someone said the driver had been shot – the conductor.”
He was taken to Edward Hospital. Thankfully his injuries were non-life threatening and he is expected to recover.
With over 235 passengers on the train at the time, officers say the incident could have been much worse, if not for the heroic efforts of those onboard.
“Not knowing the intention of the suspect, and not knowing what further acts he was capable of, I think it was key that the other passengers did restrain him for police,” said Cammiso. “I think that possibly could have saved lives.”
The incident forced the stopping of trains on the BNSF line while police investigated. Currently there are no safeguards to stop someone from carrying a loaded firearm onto a train, though it is clearly prohibited by Amtrak.
Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari shared, “We have a policy that enables people to carry unloaded firearms to stations where they can check them into checked baggage. And they’re kept separate from the rest of the train, in a locked container: and they’re not given back to that person whose checked them until we reach our destination.”
Amtrak officials restored service on the tracks on the north this evening, and expect all trains to be fully operational on Wednesday.
Naperville News 17 Kim Pirc reports, with team coverage by Alyssa Bochenek, Kevin Machak, Liz Spencer and Evan Summers.
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