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Lincoln Park, Old Town

5 Charged In Red Line Holdup That Spanned 2 Cars, Ended With Victim Stabbing Robbers, Prosecutors Say

The early Friday attack involved as many as six people who stabbed and beat the victim, police said. The victim took out a knife and fought back, stabbing three of his attackers.

Passengers move on the platform at the CTA North/Clybourn Red Line station in Lincoln Park on Feb. 25, 2022.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

LINCOLN PARK — Five people were charged in a prolonged attempted robbery on the Red Line that spanned multiple train cars and led to four people being stabbed, including the victim.

The attackers repeatedly came at the victim, who pulled out a knife and fought off the attackers early Friday, prosecutors said.

The five charged with armed robbery were Shawn Gullens, 20; Latoya Thomas, 22; Martinez Owens, 24; Larone Williams, 26; and Vernon Holman, 52. Owens has an address in Calumet City. The others live in Chicago, officials said.

Holman was also charged with battery and use of a deadly weapon for alleging stabbing the victim in the shoulder. The other four were charged with aggravated battery.

All five appeared before Judge Barbara Dawkins in felony bond court Sunday. 

Prosecutors said the incident began just after 2 a.m. Friday when the victim, a 42-year-old man, boarded a southbound Red Line train on the North Side.

Owens and a yet-to-be-identified man started wrestling with victim, threatening to beat him if he did not hand over his phone. As the victim tried to fight off his attackers, two other people got on the train and came at the victim. One of them kicked him, prosecutors said, prompting the victim to fight back. 

“The victim feared for his life, took a knife out, and struck offender Owens in the back,” a prosecutor said Sunday. 

Owens and the three others then got off the train, prosecutors said. The victim switched train cars while the train was moving and held the door closed on the new car as he called 911. But prosecutors said Holman then approached the train car, and the victim opened the door because he did not recognize Holman from the initial attack. Holman then began to wrestle the victim to the ground. The victim then stabbed Holman in the neck, prompting Holman to get off the train. 

When the train reached the North and Clybourn stop, Williams hit the victim in the head with a bottle, prosecutors said. Holman then returned with a knife and stabbed the victim in the shoulder, prosecutors said. Thomas hit the victim and took his backpack, prosecutors said, while Gullens hit the victim in the head with another bottle. 

Prosecutors said the victim was ultimately able to fight off his attackers and make it to the other side of the train tracks, where he called 911 for a second time. The alleged attackers were arrested at the scene, and the victim was taken to the hospital with serious injuries that included fractures to the face, cuts to the forehead and back of the head, scrapes, bruises and a stab wound in his shoulder.

Prosecutors on Sunday that the defendants were identified by the victim, and that parts of the attack were captured on CTA video cameras. 

The judge said the it appeared the people charged in the attack worked in concert with each other, and she noted the long duration of the robbery. Gullens and Williams are both on probation for retail theft, and Holman has a pending assault case, according to prosecutors. 

Bond was set at $50,000 for Thomas, $75,000 for Gullens, $250,000 for Holman, $100,000 for Williams and $75,000 for Owens. The defendants are set to appear again in court Aug. 1. 

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