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North Center Man Charged With Murder Of Marine Pushed In Front Of Red Line Train, Police Say

The victim joined the Marines after graduating from Lane Tech and earned his citizenship while serving in Afghanistan.

Ryan Munn (left) was charged with murder for fatally pushing Mamadou Balde (right) onto the 'L' tracks on Tuesday.
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NORTH CENTER — A North Center man accused of pushing a Marine into a CTA train Tuesday is facing murder charges, police said.

Ryan Munn, 18, has been charged with murdering Mamadou Balde, 29, police said.

At about 5:13 p.m. Tuesday, Balde was on the Red Line platform at the Jackson stop in the 200 block of South State Street when he was approached by three people, according to police. Munn then punched and pushed Balde onto the the train tracks and into an oncoming train, police said.

Police took Munn into custody Friday night at his home in the 2100 block of West Bradley Place, officials said.

A judge ordered Munn held without bond Sunday. He’s expected in court again Friday.

Balde, of the 7500 block of North Ridge Boulevard, was pronounced dead at the scene. His cause of death was multiple injuries from being pushed into a moving train and it was ruled a homicide, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. 

Credit: U.S. Marine Corps
Then-Lance Cpl. Mamadou Balde stands with his right hand raised to recite the Pledge of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, March 1, 2013.

Balde was born in Guinea and for nearly 10 years he and his two siblings lived with his grandmother and immediate relatives in the West African nation. His father, Al Balde, had gone to Chicago in 1990 to build a better life for the family. By 1999 Al Balde was able to bring his family to the city.

“My dad wanted to get us away from all the constant fighting,” Balde said, in a 2013 interview with the U.S. Marines. “I didn’t really get to know him until I was almost 10 years old.”

Balde attended Armstrong Elementary School and graduated from Lane Tech High School, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The move to the United States was a culture shock to Balde. At the time he only spoke Fula, a West African dialect, and a little bit of French. It would take Balde about a year and a half to learn English and he often practiced by watching “Days Of Our Lives.”

“No one outside of our house spoke [Fula], so I had to pick up English fast,” he said in that interview.

After graduating high school in 2009, Balde enlisted in the Marine Corps. He was the first in his family to join the military and served in Afghanistan as a maintenance mechanic.

“My dad brags about me all the time to our little community [back home],” Balde said. “But he always [stressed] to me how important it was to get my citizenship.”

Credit: U.S. Marine Corps
Then-Lance Cpl. Mamadou Balde on April 11, 2013 at Camp Dwyer, Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Balde’s military unit helped him study for the test and he earned his citizenship March 1, 2013 at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan.

“I already knew a lot of it, but everyone would joke around and grill me with all these questions, so the test was pretty simple for me,” Balde said. “They helped me get it all done as soon as I told them about it. Once I got my citizenship, my dad was very proud and even more excited about it than me.”