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UIC student honored for helping police catch alleged gunman in CTA shooting, aiding victim

“The most important thing for me was that the victim was safe,” Jonathan Kasongo said.

Jonathan Kasongo shows off the award given to him by Chicago police for aiding a shooting victim and helping police track down the suspect at the Near West police district, Thursday, March 5, 2020.
Jonathan Kasongo shows off the award given to him by Chicago police for aiding a shooting victim and helping police track down the suspect at the Near West police district, Thursday, March 5, 2020.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Chicago police honored a 24-year-old immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo Thursday for helping officers apprehend the alleged gunman in a recent shooting at a CTA Blue Line station and aiding the injured victim.

Jonathan Kasongo, a master’s student studying business analytics at University of Illinois at Chicago, said he was on his way to campus to do some homework on Feb. 5 when the assailant shot another commuter while exiting a westbound train at the UIC-Halsted stop.

The alleged gunman, 31-year-old Patrick Waldon, took the victim’s backpack and ran off. Police later caught Waldon in the 3000 block of West Harrison Street thanks to surveillance footage and a “very cooperative” witness.

That witness was Kasongo, who called 911, applied pressure to the 30-year-old victim’s wound and waited for police to arrive.

“The most important thing for me was that the victim was safe and that the police worked really fast to catching the guy that committed the crime,” Kasongo said at a press conference at the Near West police district Thursday.

When asked if he felt like a hero, Kasongo shrugged his shoulders and shook his head.

“I feel like a normal person,” he said.

The shooting victim, who was taken to Stroger Hospital in “very serious” condition, is still recovering, according Stephen C. Chung, commander of the Near West police district.

Waldon, of the 8000 block of South Ingleside Avenue, was ordered held without bail last month. He is facing attempted murder, armed robbery, aggravated battery and armed habitual criminal charges.

Carlos Ballesteros is a corps member of Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of Chicago’s South Side and West Side.